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."nooi^le 



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THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



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THE 

CRYPTOGRAPHY 
OF DANTE 

BY 

WALTER ARENSBERG 



"Annquam exquirite matrcm" 

— £»nd iii.96 



NEW YORK 

ALFRED- A- KNOPF 

MCMXXI 



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Copjri^t 1911 
Walter Arinibbiic 



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For a lost and at last recovered Bella 

the mother of the divine 

Commedia 



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PREFACE 



Except for the discussions, in various commentaries, of 
the Dxv in Purgatorio xxxiii and of the acrostic vom in Pur- 
gatorio xii, I know of no recognition of the existence of crypto- 
grams in the Dioina Commedia. For general information on 
the subject of crypte^aphy I may refer to the article on 
Akrosiichis in Pauly: Encyclopeedie dor Classishen Aher- 
tumstoissenschaft; the article on Acrostic in Hastings: En- 
cyclopadia of Religion and Ethics; the article on Ciphers 
in Rees's Encychpadia; C. W. King: The Gnostics and Their 
Remains; Francis Bacon; Of the Advancement of Learning; 
Waiter Begley: Biblia Cabalistica; Is it Shakespeare?; 
and Bacon's Nova Resuscitatio; and W. S. Booth: Some 
Acrostic Signatures of Francis Bacon and The Hidden Signa~ 
tures of Francesco Colonna and Francis Bacon. A mdely 
recognized authority which I have been unable to consult 
is Kryptographik, by J. L. Kluber. 

For general information concerning the life and works of 
Dante I have consulted principally, in addition to the com- 
mentaries of the Dioina Commedia by Scartazzini, Casini, 
Torraca, Vernon, Longfellow, and Norton, and of the yita 
Nuooa by Witte and Scherillo, the following works: 
Boccaccio: Fita di Dante; Scartazzini: Dizionario Critieo; 
E. Moore: Textual Criticism of the Divina Commedia and 
Studies in Dante; P. Toynbee: Dante Dictionary; Dante 
Alighiers; and Dante Studies and Researches; E. G. Gardner: 
Dante's Ten Heavens and Dante and the Mystics; P. H. Wick- 
steed: Dante and Aquinas; J. B. Fletcher: Dante; C. A. 



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viii THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Dinsmore: Aids to the Study of Dante; R. T. Holbrook: 
Dante and the Animal Kingdom; Ruggero della Torre: 
// Poeta Veltro. 

Except for della Torre's identification of the dxv and the 
Veltro with Dante I know of nothing in the literature on 
Dante that relates to the interpretation of the symbolism 
of the Vita Nuova and the Dioina Commedia which I have 
expressed in the present volume. I agree with della Torre 
in identifying the dxv and the Veltro with Dante; but my 
reasons for making the identification have little, if anything, 
to do with the reasons of della Torre, and I first learnt of his 
work when I was nearing the completion of my own. My 
agreement with della Torre is limited to the single detail of 
this identification. 

My identification of Beatrice with Bella, the mother of 
Dante, has not, so far as I know, been made before. Several 
commentators, such as Scherillo and Fletcher, have alluded — 
to quote the words of Fletcher — to "Beatrice's instinctive 
motherliness", in the sense that "every true maid is some- 
thing of a mother to the man she loves"; and Scherillo has 
further surmised that Dante may have transferred to his 
characterization of Beatrice certain qualities which he re- 
membered in his own mother. A similar idea, but from a 
point of view that is strictly limited to the Freudian, is 
developed by Alice Sperber in a study of Dante's Unconscious 
Mental Life, a study which I have not seen, but which, as I 
gather from the abstract in the Psychoanalytic Review, April, 
1920, is "not concerned with the historical idenrity of Bea- 
trice or the actual facts of her life." 

The view that Dante, by a process of idealization, may 
have transferred certain qualities which he remembered in 
his mother to his characterization of someone else, to a 
Beatrice who may or may not be identified with Beatrice 
Portinari, is not to be confused with the view, expressed in 
the following pages, that Beatrice and Bella, the mother of 
Dante, are, by Dante's conscious intention, identical. 

I have found that the Dante literature with which I 
am acquainted is less helpful for the interpretation of the 



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PREFACE ix 

Divina Commedia than certain studies in religion, myth, and 
dream. I may refer to J. G. Frazer: The Golden Bough and 
Folk-Lore in the Old Testament; J. E. Harrison: Themis; 
Y. Him: The Sacred Shrine; E. B. TyJor: Primitive Cul- 
ture; H. O. Taylor; The Mediaeval Mind; J. Hastings: 
Encyclopadia of Religion and Ethics; S. Freud: The Inter- 
pretation of Dreams; C. G. Jung: Psychology of the Uncon- 
eious; F. Ricklin: IVish Fulfillment and Symbolism in Fairy 
Tales; O. Rank: The Myth of the Birth of the Hero; K.Abra- 
ham: Dreams and Myths; Hans Schmidt; Jona; E. de Faye: 
Introduction h Vitude du Gnostidsme; W. K. Fleming: 
Mysticism in Christianity; Evelyn Underhill: Mysticism; 
A. E. Waite: The Secret Doctrine oj Israel; W. B. Smith: 
Ecce Deus; and I. Myer: The ^ahhalah. 

For secretarial assistance in the collection of my material 
I am indebted to Miss Florence M. Poast. To Mr. John 
Covert I owe the su^estion of the possible cryptographic 
use of capital letters and especially the discovery of the signa- 
ture in di necessita (p. 55). For assistance in editing my 
material I am indebted to Mr. John Macy, and I am further 
indebted to Mr. Macy for several valuable suggestions in 
deciphering. 

To the memory of Dr. E. E. Southard 1 acknowledge my 
deepest debt. His ideas as to the oversimplifications of the 
Freudian psycholc^y, and especially as to the pessimism 
inherent in the deterministic view of conduct which it ex- 
presses, helped to orient me in a wood where I was once in 
danger of losing my way. It was in the light of these ideas 
that I formed my belief that sex symbolism is not to be inter- 
preted as symbolizing sex. The sex symbolism of the Divina 
Commedia, for example, is, in the last analysis, a representa- 
tion of the mental processes, in which the mind is conceived as 
a trinity of will, intellect, and emotion, and which is repre- 
sented accordingly as a family, as in the Trinity of the Chris- 
tian Godhead, of father, son and mother. The mutual rela- 
rions of the three members of the family in a drama involving 
incest, death, and rebirth are to be understood as a repre- 
sentation of the individual mind in conflict or in harmony 



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X THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

with itself. This interpretation of the sex symbolism not only 
of the Divina Commedia and of Christian theology but also 
of myths and dreams in general I will develop, together 
with a new definition of symbolism, in a volume now in 
preparation: The Symbolism of the Divina Commedia. 



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CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

I The General Evidence .... 3 

II Acrostics 23 

III Signatures 55 

IV Dxv 115 

V The Universal Form 129 

VI Symbolic Guises 167 

VII The Seal 223 

VIII Beatrice 313 

IX Problematic Aspects 395 

List of Cryptograms .... 467 

Index 487 



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Chapter I 
THE GENERAL EVIDENCE 



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Chapter I 
THE GENERAL EVIDENCE 



THE Divina Commedia contains a large number of crypto- 
grams which have never, so far as I know, been noticed. 
These cryptt^ams have a double value. First, they reveal a 
hitherto unsuspected phase of Dante's literary method. 
And second — and this is the more important — they reveal a 
hitherto unsuspected symbolism. As an allegory, the Divina 
Commedia has a hidden as well as a manifest meaning; and 
the cryptograms are the hidden proof of what the hidden 
meaning is. They prove, indeed, as fundamental in the 
Divina Commedia, the symbolism of an anthropomorphic 
universe, in which Beatrice is to be identified with Bella, the 
mother of Dante, conceived as an incarnation of the divine, 
or universal, mother, and in which the dxv and the Veltro are 
to be identified with Dante, conceived as an incarnation of 
the divine, or universal, son. 

A cryptt^ram, or hidden writing, is a deliberate arrange- 
ment of words, letters, numbers, or other signs, which is 
intended to conceal as well as to express a meaning. The 
meaning of a cryptogram is concealed by a variety of devices, 
such as, first, by giving the signs employed a different mean- 
ing from the meaning which they usually possess; and, 
second, by arranging these signs in an order which is 
different from the conventional order of the language in 
which they are written. A common synonym for "crypto- 
gram" is "cipher," and the use of this word is significant, as 
in various kinds of cabalas, of the substitution of letters by 
numbers. The word is also significant of the numerical 
schemes on which the arrangement of letters in some crypto- 



(3) 

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4 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

grams is based. Cryptt^rams are of many kinds. Among the 
cryptograms which I have discovered in the Dioina Commedia 
are acrostics, teles tics, interior sequences, anagrams, irregular 
letter clusters, string ciphers, and cabaUstic spelling devices. 
I am far from assuming that the cryptograms which I have 
discovered are all that Dante made. They are so widely 
scattered and so varied in form that I am convinced that 1 
have missed many. Nor do I assume that all the cryptograms 
which I am here presenting are authentic. A decipherer is 
necessarily to some extent at the mercy of the very ingenuity 
which the act of ded|;^ering requires. For instance, he may 
discover as actually existing in the text an unusual col- 
location of letters which may be interpreted as a cryptogram; 
and he may then assume that this collocation was intended 
by the author to be so interpreted, when, as a matter of fact, 
it was purely accidental. Or if, on the other hand, the collo- 
cation of letters was actually intended as a cryptogram by 
the author, the decipherer may lack the ingenuity to read it 
correcdy, as when, for instance, the tetters in question are 
capable of being rearranged in two ways, one intended by 
the author and one accidental. In such a case of variant read- 
ings the decipherer may make a wrong choice. 

The essential in deciphering, therefore, is to remember 
that it is by the author's intention, and by the author's 
intention alone, that a cryptogram can be said to exist. The 
author's intention may, of course, not be easy to prove. But 
there arc certain means by which the author's intention may 
be indicated. These means may be enumerated as follows: 
first, hints in the text that something is being concealed; 
second, a correspondence between the meaning of the crypto- 
gram and the meaning of the text; third, the appearance of 
cryptograms in salient and symmetrical positions, such as 
the beginnings and the ends of the various parts, chapters, 
cantos, or other units of text; fourth, a repetition of cryptic 
readings identical or similar in meaning; and fifth, a repeti- 
tion, in various cryptograms, of an identical cryptographic 
"frame," or structure- 
In a series of cryptograms in connection with which it is 



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THE GENERAL EVIDENCE 5 

possible to ptMnt, first, to hints in the text, second, to corre- 
spondence between the meaning of the cryptc^rams and the 
meaning of the text, third, to the appearance of cryptograms 
in salient and symmetrical positions, fourth, to the repetition 
of identical or similar cryptographic readings, and, fifth, to 
the repetition of a cryptc^raphic structure, the probability 
that the cryptograms were intended by the author is greater 
than that they were not intended. Acknowledging as I do 
the possibility of error in deciphering the cryptograms which 
I shall present, I am nevertheless confident that they show, 
as a series, unmistakable indications of intention, or design. 

The announcement that the Dioina Commedia is teeming 
with cryptograms is likely, I am aware, to be met with 
incredulity. For there is a common prejudice that crypto- 
grams are too trivial a form of composition to have been 
employed by authors of works of literary importance. Some 
justification for this prejudice may be found in the fact that 
cryptograms have been "discovered" where they do not 
really exist. Many of the so-called discoveries in the Shake- 
speare plays, as, for instance, Donnelly's Great Cryptogram, 
are cases in point. They are not cryptograms at all, but 
merely arbitrary readings foisted into the text by mistaken 
ingenuity. Unfortunately, however, the contempt which such 
false readings have merited has not been confined to them 
alone, with the result that the whole subject of cryptography 
is almost taboo to the academic student of literature. In 
recent years, however, a few investigators have done much 
to establish the importance of the subject as an aspect of 
literary art. 

A glance at the history of cryptography should dispel at 
once any prejudice against the possible existence of crypto- 
grams in works of literature. The subject has received so 
little attention in the last century or two that the extent to 
which cryptograms have been used in the past and the 
variety of their forms are no longer generally known. The 
conunon opinion at present, indeed, is simply that crypto- 
graphy is a subject of importance only for such practical 
purposes as military, diplomaric, and commercial codes, and 



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6 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

that it has no literary value whatever. This opinion is con- 
trary to the easily available evidence of centuries of literary 
use of cryptc^rams in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Italian, French, 
and English. 

It is not within the scope of the present volume, however, 
to survey the history of cryptography. I will confine myself, 
for the historical background of my research, to the briefest 
reference to a few established facts. Let me first quote from 
the article on "Akrostichis" by E. Graf in Pauly: Real- 
Encychpadie der Classtschen /iltertumswissenscka/t. 

"Dea &lteren sibyllinischen Oraklen war die A. 
durchgehends eigen and zwar so, dass die A. sich mit 
dem ersten Vers des Orakels deckte, Cic. de div. H, 122 
. . . bei I&neeren Oraklen fuhr die A. in zweiten Vers 
fort, doch so, oass dessen Anfang nicht mit eincm Sinn- 
abschnitt des Orakels zusammenfiel. Zweck der A. 
war, die Sammlung vor Interpolationen und Verkllr- 
zungen zu schfltzen ... In unscrer Sammlung 
der sibyllinischen Orakel ist die einzige A. viii, 217-^0: 
'I^ffow Xpicrdi Btou vUk aarijp aravpSs, wclche selost 
wicderum die A. 'IxeTZ enthaJt . . . Augustin 
de civ. d. xviii, 23 ilbersetzt sie ins Lateinische mit 
griechischer A.: Jesucs Creistos Teud Uios Soter 
Staurur . . . Bci den Rfimem linden wir zucrst die 
A. 'Q. Enniusfecif inquibusdam Ennianis Cic. de div. 
iii 112; . . . Der Grammatiker Opillius gab seinen 
Namen als A. seines Pinax (Suet, de gramm. 6), Sitius 
ItalicuE wahrte seine Autorschaft am Homerus latinus 
durch die zwei A. Italicus — scripsU am Anfang und 
Ende des Gedichtes . . . Die akrostischen Argu- 
mente zu alien plautinische StUcken ausser den Bacchides 
werden von Ritschl op. ii, 404 und Opitz Lpz. Stud, vi 
234.275 in die Antonmenzeit, von SeyfFert Philol xvi, 
±A& u. Jahresber. xlvii, 22 ca. 100 Janre nach Plautus 
Tod aneesetzt. Commodians Instuctiones besteben 
aus 80 Gedichten mit akrostichischer Inhaltsangabe, 
zum Teil verbunden mit Telestichis. Die A. des letzten 
Stilckes ergicbt, von unten ksen, Commodtanus men- 
duui Christt . . . Aldbelmus leitet sein Gedicht 
de laudibiu mrginum . . . mit einer Prtufatio cin, 
die den ersten Hexameter als A. vorw&rts und als Tele- 
stichis rUckwtlrts gelesen enth< seine Rfitselsammlung 



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THE GENERAL EVIDENCE 7 

. . . mit einem Proltw, dessui A. und Telestichis in 
gleicher Richtung den Vers Aldkelmus cecenu miUenis 
otrsibus odas ergiebt." 

Cryptography has been associated from ancient times 
with serious reli^ous works. There are cryptograms in the 
Bible, notably the abecedarian acrostics, in which the initial 
letters of lines or sections are the successive letters of the 
alphabet. The article on "Acrostic" in Hastings: Encyclo- 
paedia oj Religion and Ethics gives fourteen examples in 
Psalms, Proverbs, Lamentations, and Nahum. One of the most 
interesting is Psalm cxix, the structure of which is partly 
visible and partly lost in the English Bible, where we see the 
division of the psalm into twenty-two sections, each under a 
letter of the Hebrew alphabet and each consisting of eight 
verses. In the original each of the eight verses of each 
division begins with the same letter, eight with alephj eight 
with beth^ and so on. This alphabeticism is not meaningless; 
it is used, first, as an aid to memorizing, and, second, as a 
symbol of completeness, "as in Proverbs xxxi. 10-31, where 
the praises of virtuous woman exhaust the alphabet." And 
an abecedarian psalm in praise of God, beginning, as it does, 
with the first letter of the alphabet and ending with the last, 
is in effect a way of signing God's name as Alpha and Omega: 
"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, 
saith the Lord." 

Acrostics are found in other religious works, Jewish and 
Christian. According to the article on the abecedarian psalms 
and hymns in Pauly's Real-Encyclopaedie: " Das beruhmteste 
Exemplar aus der christlichen Litteratur ist Augustins 
Psalmus contra partem Donati, gedichtet ^^^ . . . den er 
nach Retract 1,20 fur dieganzUngebildeten verfassthatzum 
Auswendiglernen." 

The Bible contains many examples of cabala, one of which, 
"the number of the beast" in Revelation, will prove of par> 
ricular interest to us later. The interpretation of the Scrip- 
tures by cryptc^aphic methods, especially cabalistic, con- 
tinued through early and medieval Hebrew and Christian 
literature. As we shall sec in Chapter IV, some knowledge of 



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8 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

this cabalistic literature is essential to a correct interpre- 
tation of the Divina Commedia. 

A few examples of the literary use of cryptograms in the 
Renaissance and post-Renaissance will suffice. Boccaccio's 
Amorosa Visione is a remarkable acrostic poem which we 
shall have occasion later to discuss at length. Francois Vitlon 
wrote his name down the initials of the third stanza of his 
bdlade, A S'Amye, and he made other acrostic signatures. A 
cryptographic signature that was " lost " until later discovered 
is contained in the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, published 
anonymously in Venice in 1499. The initial letters of the 
chapters of the book spell the sentence (in Latin) : " Brother 
Francesco Colonna loved Polia." 

The poetry of Elizabethan England is full of instances of 
acrostics and other devices which range from mere clever 
tricks in light verse to the serious religious poem of George 
Herbert: "Our Life is Hid With Christ In God." The poem 
is as follows: 

My words and thoughts do both express this notion. 
That Life hath with the sun a double motion. 
The first Is straight, and our diumall friend; 
The other Hid, and doth obliquely bend. 
One life is wrapt In flesh, and tends to earth: 
The other winds towards Him, whose happy birth 
Taught mc to live here so That still one eye 
Should aim and shoot at that which Is on high; 

Quitting with daily labour all My pleasure, 
o gain at harvest an eternal Treasure. 

The cryptogram in this poem is a so called interior 
sequence. The words to be read in sequence are indicated 
by being printed in italic: my life is hid in him that is my 
treasure; these words paraphrase the sentence from the 
Bible used in the title. The meaning of Herbert's cryptogram 
is important for us; for just as "My life is hid in Him," so 
the cryptogram is hidden in the text. Herbert, as one of the 
"metaphysical" poets, was concerned with mystical mean- 
ings, and no reader who knows his spirit can doubt the 
reverence or the symbolic use of this verbal play. 



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THE GENERAL EVIDENCE 9 

A common form of cryptogram in literature is the anagram, 
and a common form of anagram is a pseudonym made by 
a rearrangement of the letters of the real name. A great man 
whose name was Arouet le jeune is said to have arranged 
the letters of his name and the initials of the words ie jeune 
into the name by which the world knows him: voltaire. 
Notice that in this anagram the u is considered as v, and j 
as I. Francois Rabelais made of his name the anagram alco- 
FRiBAS NASIER, under which pseudonym he published some 
of his works. 

The reasons for the use of cryptograms arc not, I be- 
lieve, sufficiently appreciated. A signature or dedication 
or any other expression that an author sees fit to attach to his 
work by the devices of cryptography is apt to be r^arded, 
if it is acknowledged to be there at all, as an example of 
misspent ingenuity, a bit of literary decoration of a trivial 
character. Such an opinion ignores the profoundly serious 
motives which underlay the use of cryptograms in die past. 

Among the motives for the literary use of cryptograms 
may be mentioned, first, the motive of prudence. A hidden 
signature or dedication may be prudential in case the public 
announcement of authorship or dedication would be 
dangerous. Such a case exists in the Hypnerotomuchia, 
mentioned above, in which the author, a monk, acknowledges 
his passion for a woman. Or it may be prudent to hide the 
meaning of a work when the meaning is an attack on some 
form of authority, political or religious. A case in point is the 
cabalistic "number of the beast" in Revelation, which, as is 
now generally thought, is a Christian reference to the hostile 
Emperor Nero. 

A second motive may be found in the desire of an author 
to secure the authorship of his work to himself. Crypto- 
graphic signatures were customary for the simple reason that 
before the invention of printing, and even after, they were 
the only sure method of attaching a name to a literary work 
in such a way that it could not be removed or changed. Title 
pages may be displaced or falsified, but a structural signature 
in a literary work remains as long as the work itself. A crypn>- 



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10 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

graphic signature thus prevents literary theft or the attri- 
bution of a work to someone not the author. At the same time 
it enables the author, while he establishes his proprietorship, 
to avoid the immodesty of proclaiming himself overtly. 
This idea derives from a convention, which existed not only 
in Dante's time but before and after, of literary anonymity. 
In confca'mity with such a convention, a hidden signature was 
often the only means of establishing authorship. 

A third motive for the use of cryptc^rams in a work of 
literature is to derive the form of the work from the idea 
which it expresses. In any work of art, indeed, the idea is 
expressed by some sort of correspondence between that idea 
and a physical form. In the Divina Commediay for instance, 
the division of the poem into three parts and the use of a 
three-line stanza express the idea of the Trinity which 
dominates the life of the author-hero and the form of the 
universe in which he lives. Many other literary, and 
especially metrical, forms which are now accepted as matters 
of^ tradition or convention must in the first place have been 
invented to express similar correspondences. In an analc^ous 
way, the presence of a cryptogram in a work of literature 
makes the form of that work derive from the idea of the 
cryptogram, or at least from the word or words of which the 
cryptogram is composed. In an acrostic poem, for example, 
which g^ves as its acrostic spelling the name of the lady to 
whom it is dedicated, the form, since it follows, line by line, 
the letters of the lady's name, may be said to be derived from 
the name, and so, most appropriately, from the lady herself. 

For the mystic or the symbolist of the past a word had a 
closer relarion with the thing which it names than that of a 
mere arbitrary association. It was regarded, indeed, as in 
some mysterious way derived from the very nature of the 
thing itself. Dante expresses this idea in Fita Nuooa, xiii: 
/ nomi seguitino le nominate cose, stccome i scritto; Nomina sunt 
consequentia rerum. An example of this conception appears, 
indeed, in the fancy, to which Dante himself alludes, that the 
form of the Italian word omo, " man," is written in the human 
face, the two o's represented by the eyes, and the m rcpre- 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE GENERAL EVIDENCE ii 

sented by the line of the nose and the oudines of the cheeks. 
A literary form that is derived from a cryptc^^ram may be 
said, therefore, according to this conception, to be derived 
quite literally from the idea which the cryptogram expresses. 
Moreover, in a sense that is neither mystical nor symbolical, 
the form of a composition containing a cryptogram is based 
necessarily, as is apparent in any acrostic poem, on its 
cryptt^am. It is a ^rm based on an arrangement of letters 
arbitrarily chosen by the author, and, as such, is just as valid 
and interesting as a form based on an arbitrary arrangement 
of sounds, as in rhymes. Many cryptograms, and especially 
acrostics expressing ideas analogous to the idea of the text, 
were adopted by the author, I believe, simply as aids and 
novel conditions of composition. The difficulties of making a 
text with a cryptogram, over-rated as these difficulties 
usually are, assist the author to complicate his structure 
and so to create a higher beauty by virtue of the very neces- 
sity of creating a higher unity. 

The fourth motive for the literary use of crypt(^;rams is at 
once the profoundest and the most ignored. It is the same 
motive, indeed, which leads to the production of allegory; 
the desire, that is, to express and solve, if solving be possible, 
the problem of appearance and reality. Allegory is a genre 
that has fallen into disfavor. It is apt to be underrated as a 
mere device for the exercise of powers of paraphrase. In 
saying one thing and meaning another, it seems, to the 
modem temper at least, to be playing with poindess duplici- 
ties. But the raison tfitre both of allegory and of crypto- 
graphic literature is simply that their duplicities are a literal 
expression, a parallel, of the duplicities of the world in which 
we live; they are intended, in their deepest aspects, to express 
the difference between what things are and what things seem. 
Tilings are not what they seem, and life is a game of hide-and- 
seek in which we try to find out what things are. " It is the 
glory of God to conceal a thing; but the honor of kings is to 
search out a matter. " — Prov. xxv.2. In ancient and medieval 
symbolism, as well as in the modern theory of symbolism, 
the world of appearance is conceived as concealing the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



12 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

fundamental reality; and hidden writings in symbolical or 
alle^rical literature, as well as the hidden meaning in 
alle^ries, are intended to parallel in the texts which con- 
ceal them the reality which is concealed in natural 
phenomena, the reality which is concealed in appearance. 

The examples cited of cryptographic literature, both 
ancient and medieval, and the consideration of the motives 
which produced it should be sufficient, I think, to allay any 
a priori prejudice against the likelihood of finding crypto- 
grams in the Divina Commedia. And, indeed, the existence of 
at least one cryptogram in the Divina Commedia is generally 
rec(^nized. I refer to what Dante himself calls the enigma 
forte, the strangely worded prophecy of Beatrice in the 
thirty-third canto of Purgatorio, in which she alludes to a com- 
ing saviour as " a five hundred, ten, and five." 

It is supposed that these words arc the cryptic designation 
of a particular person. The identity of this person has never, 
however, been satisfactorily established; it remains, in fact, 
one of the central mysteries of the poem. But the attempts to 
identify this person have commonly been based on some 
variation of the cryptographic device of substituting numbers 
for letters. 

In addition to the cryptogram in the reference of Beatrice 
to urt cinquecento diece e cinque, there is just one other passage 
in the Divina Commedia in which, as far as I am aware, the 
presence of a cryptogram has been recognized. I refer to 
Purg. xii. 25-63, which reads as follows: 

Vedea colui che fu nobit creato 2% 

Piil ch' altra creatura, giil dal cielo 

Folgorejggiando scender da un lato. 
Vedea Briareo, fitto dal telo 38 

Celestial, giacer dall' altra parte. 

Grave alia terra per lo mortal gelo. 
Vedea Timbreo, vedea Pallade e Marte, 31 

Armati zncora, intorno al padre loro, 

Mirar le membra de' Giganti spaite. 
Vedea Nembrot appii del gran tavoro, 34 

euasi smarrito, e riguardar le genti 
he in Sennaar con lui superbi foro. 



oyGoot^lc 



THE GENERAL EVIDENCE 13 

O Niob^i con che occhi dolenti 37 

Vedeva io te segnatz in sulla strada 

Tra sette e sette tuoi (igliuoli spenti! 
O Saul, come in sulla propria spada 40 

guivi parevi moito in Gelboi, 
he poi non sentl piog^ia n^ nigtadal 
O folic Aragne, si vedea 10 te 43 

Gii mezza aragna, trista in su gli stracci 

Dell' opera che mal per tc si fe . 
O Roboam, gi^ non par che minacci 46 

Quivi il tuo segno; ma pien di spavento 

Nel porta un carro prima che altri il cacci. 
MoGtrava ancor lo duro pavimento 49 

Come Almeon a sua madre fe' caro 

Parer lo sventurato adomamento. 
Mostrava come i figli si gittaro 52 

Sopra Sennacherib dentro dal tempio, 

E come, mono lui, quivi il lasciaro. 
Mostrava la ruina e il crudo scempio 55 

Che fe' Tamiri, quando dissc a Giro: 

'Sangue sitisti, ed io di sangue t'empio.' 
Mostrava come in rotta si fuggiro . 58 

Gli Assiri, poi che fu mono Olofeme, 

Ed anche le reliquie del martiro. 
Vedea Troia in cenerc e in caveme: 61 

O Ilion, come te basso e vile 

Mostrava il segno che 11 si discemel* 

This passage shows a strikingly symmetrical arrangement 
of the first letters of the first lines of twelve terzine and of alt 
the lines of the thirteenth terzina. Each of the first four 
terzine begins with the letter v, each of the second four with 
the letter o, and each of the third four with the tetter m; 
and each of the three lines of the last terzina begins respec- 
Uvely with the same letters in the same order: v, o, m. 

It is possible, but not at all probable, that this symmetrical 
arrangement of initials is accidental. The probability, indeed, 
is that the arrangement was intended by Dante as a means of 
calling attention to some special significance of the letters so 
conustently reiterated. The probability of the intention of 
the arrangement has not escaped the notice of Dante 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



14 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

scholars, who, remembering that in medieval usage v and u 
are the same letter, have read the letters as an acrostic for 
UOM, or "man." 

The symmetrical arrangement of the tetters is not, how- 
ever, the only proof that the acrostic uom is intentional. The 
passage is both preceded and followed by words which are 
capable of being understood as hints that something is 
hidden in the passage. Preceding the passage, in line 23, are 
the v/ordaisecondo Vartificiofigur^o. These words may easily 
be taken as hinting that something is "figured" by the 
"artifice" of the symmetrical arrangement. And following 
the passage are the words, lines 64-66: 

8ual di pennel fu maestro o di stile, 
he ritraesse 1' ombre e i tratti, ch' ivi 
Mirar farieno ogn' ingegno sottile f 
Here ^ain there is the possibility of a hinting double mean- 
ing in the reference to the strokes which would make every 
subde wit wonder. 

In addition to the symmetry of the arrangement of special 
letters and the hints of a hidden meaning there is further con- 
firmation of the intention of the acrostic in the correspon- 
dence between the meaning of the acrostic and the meaning 
of the text. The acrostic vom, repeating in generic form as it 
does the expression, hne7i,jff/i«o/ii/'£pa, corresponds to the 
meaning of the passage throughout, which is simply man in 
his fallen estate. The confirmations of intention which I have 
here applied to the acrostic vom have already been discussed 
in their general aspects, and they are the same that I shall 
apply to the cryptographic readings to be presented later. 

Although the cinquecento diece e cinque and the acrostic 
VOM are the only cryptograms in the Divina Commedia which, 
so far as I know, have been recognized, there are many pas- 
sages and expressions in the poem which suggest very strongly 
the possibility of a cryptographic intention. 

In Par. xix. 115-141, the nine terzine show a symmetrical 
arrangement of the initial letters of the terzine which is 
strikingly similar to the arrangement of the passage in which 
the acrostic vom is found. Each of the first three terzine 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE GENERAL EVIDENCE 15 

begins with the letter l, each of the second three with the 
letter v, and each of the third three with the tetter e. I know 
of no reference in the commentaries on Dante to this passage 
as contuning a crypti^am. Yet the similarity of the arrange- 
ment to that of the passage in which the acrostic vom is found 
makes it seem likely that a crypt(^;ram is intended. 

Another instance of a symmetry so unusual as to suggest a 
cryptic intention is Par. xx. 40-72, in which the first terzina 
and every second terzina thereafter begins with the same 
words : Or.3 fo»oj«. Still another instance is Par. xv. loo-lii, 
in which each of the four terzine begins with the same word : 
Non. And another instance is Purg. vi. 106-117, where each 
of the four terzine begins with yim. 

There may also be found in the Dioina Commedia a number 
of instances of a cryptic use of separate letters. In Par. xviii. 
77-78, the lights which are the visible forms of the spirits 

faciensi 
Or D, or I, or l, in sue figure. 

These three letters, which are later discovered to be the 
beginning of a complete sentence, are presented at first 
apart from their context, exactly as if they had some hidden 
significance of their own. That they have indeed some hidden 
significance appears from the curious invocation in regard to 
them — and in r^ard to them alone, since the remfuning 
letters of the sentence have not yet been mentioned — ^which 
Dante addresses to Pegasus. In this invocation, after making 
a reference to "wits/ Dante proceeds. Par. xviii. 85-86: 

lUustrami di te, d ch' io rilevi 
Le lor figure com' io The concette. 

This surely has a suspicious sound. And even after the in- 
vocation is finished Dante does not proceed to give the re- 
maning letters of the mystic sentence until he has said, as if 
the exact number of them also had a hidden significance, 
that the lights then showed themselves 

in cinque volte sette 
Vocali e consonanti. 

—Par. xviii. 88-89. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



i6 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Nor does Dante's preoccupation with the separate letters 
in this passage end herej for after he has given the sentence 
spelt by the Tights of the spirits: 

Diligite justitiam quijudicatis terrain, 
he describes a series of transformations of the letter m with 
which the sentence ends. This letter is transformed first into 
the shape of a lily and then into the shape of an eagle. The 
association of these shapes with the letter m is a mystery 
that has never been adequately explained. 

The spirits within the lights which group themselves in 
such a way as to form the cryptic letters are likened by Dante^ 
line 73, to birds. The idea of letters formed by birds goes 
back to the classic tradition of letter-making cranes, which 
was associated with the Roman custom of reading auguries 
in the Sights of birds. This is a sort of cryptography in nature, 
which the augur deciphers. References to this tradition will 
be found in R. T. Holbrook's Dante and the Animal Kingdom. 

In Par. xix. 127-129, there is a play on the letters i and m: 

V«drassi al Ciotto di Jerusalemme 
Segnata con un i la sua bontate, 
Quando il contrario segner& un emme. 

The I and the m in this passage are usually, and imperfectly, 
I believe, interpreted by the commentators in terms of their 
meaning in the Roman notation of numbers: "one" and "a 
thousand." 

In Purg. xxiii. ^'^-^i, there is an allusion to the idea that 
the word for "man," omo, is written on the human face: 
the two o's, as I have already explained, represent the two 
eyes, and the letter m represents the nose and the outlines of 
the cheeks. The complete form of the word, and so of the face, 
appears, indeed, in the single letter m, when the m is so 
shaped, as often in medieval manuscripts, that the central 
line of the letter may be taken as representing the nose, 
the two curved lines at each side as representing the out- 
lines of the cheeks, and the spaces circumscribed by these 
lines as representing the eyes. 

Srill another instatice of the cryptographic use of a separate 



Di!,tizedOyGoO<^lc 



THE GENERAL EVIDENCE 17 

letter in the Ditfina Commedia appears in the references in 
Purgatorio to the seven p's cut by the angel in the forehead of 
Dante. The accepted explanation of Dante's use of these 
letters as the initials of the seven cardinal peccati, inadequate 
as I believe it to be, is based on a recognition of thar crypto- 
graphic character, as indicating a word by its initial. 

Another unexplained play on letters appears in Par. vii. 
13-15: 

Ma quella riverenza che s'indonna 
Di tutto me, pur per be e per ice. 
Mi richinava come I'uom en' assonna. 

The reverence which is thus described as mistress of Dante 
even in the spelling of the diminutive form of Beatrice 
su^ests the possibility that there is some crypt(^;raphic 
play on the difference between the complete form, Beatrice, 
and the diminutive form. Bice. 

And there is another mystery about Beatrice which seems 
cryptographic. In Vita Nuova, xxx, she is said to be a "nine;" 
and throughout the yita Nuova the important dates of her 
life and death are made to conform to this number by what 
Moore calls a "curious juggling." What can this "curious 
juggling" signify? 

In Inferno are two passages of a character different from 
anything I have yet ated: the line: 

Pape Satan, pape Satan aleppe, 

— Inf. vii. I, 
and the line: 

Rafel mai amech izabt almi, 

— Inf. xxxi. 67. 

Does it not seem probable that these lines, which are usually 
considered as mere gibberish, have a cryptic meaning? 

Analogous to the cryptic use of letters and numbers is the 
use of actual objects and their pictorial and literary repre- 
sentations as symbols of esoteric meanings. The Divina 
Commedia is full of such symbols. I need mention only a few 
of them: the eagle, the cross, the ladder, the crown, and the 
mystic rose in Paradiso; the four animals mentioned in the 
banning of Inferno, the lonza, the lupa, the leone, and the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



i8 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Veltroi and in Purgatorio the chariot, the griffon, and the 
mystic tree. All these things are symbols of meanings more or 
less arbitrarily attached to them, exactly as other than the 
ordinary meanings are more or less arbitrarily attached to 
letters and numbers in the making of cryptograms. An author 
as prone as Dante to the use of a symbolism of objects would 
hardly have been averse to the use of the symbolism on which 
cryptography is based. 

In addition to the evidence already cited of the presence of 
cryptograms in the Dioina Commcdia are the numerous 
passages in which Dante refers to a meaning hidden behind a 
veil. This hidden meaning is usually supfwsed to be merely 
the alle^rical meaning that is hidden behind the literal. 
It is not impossible to infer, however, that the reference is 
to a meaning hidden behind a veil of cryptographic devices, 
as in the following passage, Inf. ix. 61-63: 
O voi che avete gl' intelletti sani, 
Mirate la dottrina che s'asconde 
Sotto il velame deglj versj strant. 
The word artCf as in Purg. ix. 70-72, is frequently used by 
Dante in such a way as not to be inconsistent, to say the 
least, with a reference to the arts, or devices, of cryptc^aphy : 
Letter, tu vedi ben com' io innalzo 
La mia materia, e pert) con piit arte 
Non ti maravigliar s' io la nncalzo. 

And in Dante's use of the word scriltura there seems to be a 
similar duplicity, as referring not only to the manifest text 
but also to some sort of writing that is concealed. An instance 
occurs in Par. xix. 82-84; 

Certo a colui che meco s'assotttglia, 

Se la scrittura sopra voi non fosse, 

Da dubitar Gareboe a maraviglia. 
And may not the following passage, Par. xix. 43-45, be taken 
as a suggestion of the excess of meaning which a crypt<^am 
reveals over the manifest meaning of a text? The hnes are: 

Non potd suo valor s! fare impresso 

In tutto I'universo, che il suo verbo 

Non rimanesse in infinite eccesso. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE GENERAL EVIDENCE 19 

The line, Par. xviii. 130: 

Ma tu, die sol per cancellare, scrivi, 
is perhaps an allusion to the cryptographic method of de- 
ciphering by cancellation of non-signiiicant letters. 

The most interesting instance of Dante's double use of the 
word scrittura appears in the following passage, Par. xix. 
130-135: 

Vedrassi I'avarizia e la viltate 
Di quel che guarda I'isola del foco, 
Dove Anchise finl la lungs etate; 
Ed a dare ad intender quanto h poco, 
La sua scrittura fien lettere mozze, 
Che noteranno molto in parvo loco. 

The last three lines of this passage have been extraor- 
dinarily mistranslated and misinterpreted. They are trans- 
lated by Norton as follows: "And, to give to understand 
how paltry he is, the writing for him shall be in abridged 
letters which shall note much in httle space." And in 
his comment Norton says that the reference here is to 
Frederick of Arragon, as "too worthless to have his many 
misdeeds written out in full." However close this translation 
and this comment may or may not be to the mere surface 
meaning of the text as an historical allusion, they miss entirely 
the literal meaning of the words and their important impli- 
carions. 

Other translations are to the same eiFect. Lettere mozze is 
translated by Wicksteed in the Temple Classics as "stunted 
letters;" by Longfellow as " contracted letters;" by Butler as 
"abbreviations." La sua scrittura is variously translated as 
"his record" or "the writing against him." 

As a matter of fact, la sua scrittura means literally "his 
writing" or "his way of writing;" and lettere moiae means 
literally "letters cut off" — "cut off," that is, from the words 
in which they appear in the text. The ordinary mistrans- 
lation and misinterpretation may correspond, indeed, in a 
loose way, to the veil which Dante himself wishes to throw 
over his real meaning; but the meaning itself, in at once its 
profoundest and its most literal aspect, is simply a reference 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



30 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

to a cryptographic way of writing in which the letters to be 
read are to be cut off, as in acrosticS] for instance, from the 
context. It is for this reason that they " shall signify much in 
little space," inasmuch as a cryptogram is restricted to a 
small part of the space occupied by the passage in which it 
is hidden. In Par. xxxiii. I2i, in a passage that is full of im- 
plications of cryptic intention, there seems to be a similar 
allusion to the brevity of cryptographic expression: 
O quanto % corto il dire, e come ftoco 
Al mio concettol 
Similarly, also, in the invocation to Pegasus to which I have 
already referred in connection with the cryptic letters: dil, 
the reference to quest! oersi breoi is ^ain, I believe, to the 
inherent brevity of cryptograms. 

The evidence which I have given in the foregoing pages 
points unmistakably to the use of cryptograms in the Divina 
Commedia. But after six centuries of^ Dante scholarship we 
are still left to wonder where and what the cryptograms 
can be. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



Chapter II 
ACROSTICS 



DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc 



DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc 



Chapter II 
ACROSTICS 



THE cryptc^rams to be shown in the present chapter are 
acrostics. These acrostics are of two Idnds, acrostics as 
acrostics are commonly defined and acrostics which I desig- 
nate as anagrammatic acrostics. The anagrammatic acrostic 
form is not, so far as I know, defined in the histories of 
cryptc^aphy; it is possibly, therefore, especially in certain 
extensions of the form which I will show in Chapter IX, an 
invention of Dante's. In the present chapter I will illustrate 
with a number of examples the differences between the 
common acrostic form and the anagrammatic acrostic form; 
and in Chapter IX I will discuss the two forms in detail. 

The first acrostics that I will show are to be considered 
as forming a group by themselves, in that they occur at the 
banning and the end of each of the three main divisions of 
the Dioina Commedia: Inferno , Purga/orio, and Paradiso. 

The fact that these acrostics occur in the initial and the 
terminal positions of the three main divisions of the poem, 
and that they are all, as 1 shall show, identical in structure, 
is a confirmation of their intentional character. 

The identical structure of the acrostics of this group 
appears in the fact that they are ail to be read on the initial, 
or the initial and contiguous, letters of the first, fourth, 
seventh, and tenth lines from the beginning or the end of a 
canto. I call this structure, to which all the acrostics of the 
group conform, a ten-line frame. 

Tliese acrostics can further be confirmed as intentional by 
the correspondence which they show to the meaning of the 
text and by expressions in the text which are capable of being 



U31 

MByGoOl^lc 



34 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

understood as having a double meaning hinting at the 
presence of cryptograms. 

The first of this group of acrostics appears on the initials 
of the first, fourth, seventh, and tenth lines of /«/. i. These 
lines are the first lines of the first four terzine of the canto. 
The passage reads as follows: 

Nel mezzo del cam m in di nostra vita 

Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, 

Che la diritta via era smarrita. 
Ahi quanto a <iir qual era h cosa dura 4 

8ue$ta selva selvaggia ed aspra e forte, 
he nel pensier rinnuova la paural 
Tanto i amara, che poco h piit morte: 7 

Ma per trattar del ben ch' i' vi trovai, 
Dir6 deir altre cose ch' io v' ho scorte. 
r non so ben ridir com* 10 v' entrai; 10 

Tant' era pien di sonno in su quel punto, 
Che la verace via abbandonai. 

The initials of the first lines of the four terzine are: 



Read down on these initials the acrostic: nati 

Nati is not the only acrostic to be found in the pass^e. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first four lines 

of the canto: 



Read down on these letters the acrostic: uemica 

These two acrostics entail a departure from the text of 

Moore, who reads the first word of the fourth line: Eh. 

I have adopted, instead, the reading of Torraca and others: 

yfhi. A reference to Moore's Textual Criticism of the Divina 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



ACROSTICS 25 

Commedia will show that there is good manuscript authority 
for a reading which begins the Une with the letter a. 

It should be remembered that we have no manuscript in 
Dante's own hand or any that he could have revised. So that 
it may well be that cryptograms which he wrote into his work 
have been mutilated or obliterated by scribes and scholars. 
Variations from his wording or spelling might disfigure a 
cryptc^am, and in the absence of the evidence of his own 
hand, it is fair to adopt any spelling for which there is good 
manuscript authority. 

Of the two acrostics, kati and nemica, k ati, as being read 
on the lirst, fourth, seventh, and tenth lines from the begin- 
ning of the canto, is identical in structure with the acrosucs 
which I shall show at the end oi Inferno, at the banning and 
the end of PurgatoHo, and at the beginning and the end of 
Paradiso. The acrostic nemica is subsi<Uary to nati, the 
acrostic on the ten-line frame. Subsidiary acrostics will 
appear with all the ten-line acrostics of the group. 

The acrostic nati is an acrostic according to the commonly 
accepted definition, since it is read consecutively on the 
initials of definite units of the text, the units being here 
consecutive terzine. The acrostic nemica conforms to the 
same definition in that it is to be read consecutively on 
definite units of the text, consecutive lines. It departs, how- 
ever, from the commonly accepted definition in that it is to 
be read, not on initials, but on initials and contiguous letters. 

I will discuss the meaning of these acrostics and of the 
other acrostics of the group after I have shown them all. 

The second of the acrostics at the beginnings and the ends 
of the three main divisions of the Divina Commedia is to be 
read on the initial and contiguous letters of the last line of 
Inferno and of the fourth, seventh, and tenth lines from the 
last. These lines are the last line of the canto and the first 
Unes of the three preceding terzine. The passage reads as 
follows: 

D' on ruscelletto che quivi discende 130 

Per la buca d' un sasso, ch' egli ha roso 
Col corso ch* egli awolge, t poco pende. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



26 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Lo Duca ed to per quel cammino ascoao 133 
Entrammo a ritornar nel chiaro mondo: 
E senza cura aver d* alctin riposo 

Salimmo suso, ei primo ed io secondo, 136 

Tamo ch' io vioi delle cose belle 
Che porta il cieli per un pertugio tondo, 

E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle. 139 



Consider the following marginal letters of the last line 
and of the fourth, seventh, and tenth line from the last: 

130 ^ 

136 s 
139 E 

Read: sol: d . . . e 

The punctuation of this acrostic, and, indeed, any punc- 
tuation in the cryptograms which I shall show, is inserted 
arbitrarily, as a means of indicating an interpretation of the 
cryptc^raphic words. 

D and e are the first and last letters of dante, and, as I 
shall show later, they are constantly used in the Dhina 
Commedia as a signature. The device of indicating a proper 
name by its initial and final letters survives in modem 
usage. 

The acrostic: sol: d . . . e, like the acrostic nati, is con- 
structed on the ten-line frame. It differs, however, from the 
acrostic nati and also from the acrostic nemica in the fact 
that the letters which compose it are read not in the order in 
which they appear on the consecutive lines, but in a re- 
arranged order, like the letters of an an^^p'am. I have called 
this form of acrostic, therefore, which requires an anagram- 
matic rearrangement of the acrostic letters, an anagrammatic 
acrostic. 

The subsidiary acrostic which appears with this acrostic: 
sol: d ... e, is to be read on the following initial and 
contiguous letters of the last six lines of the canto: 



idovGoOt^lc 





ACROSTICS 


134 


E 


135 


E 


136 


S 


137 


TA 


138 


C 


139 


E QUIND 



Read: dante esce qui 

This acrostic, like the preceding, is an anagrammatic 
acrostic. Note that the letters for this reading are all either 
initials or contiguous letters; within the Hmits which they make 
of themselves not a single superfluous letter is contained. 

The first four terwne of PurgatoriOy in which I will show 
another acrostic on the ten-line frame, read as follows: 

Per correr miglior acqua alza le vele 

Omai la navicella del mio Ingegno, 

Che lascia retro a s^ mar si crudele. 
E canter6 dt quel secondo regno, 4 

Dove 1' umano spirito si purga, 

E di salire a] ciel diventa degno. 
Ma qui la morta poesl risurga, 7 

O sante Muse, potch^ vostro sono, 

E qui Calliop^ alquanto surga, 
Seguitando il mio canto con quel suono 10 

Di cui le Piche misere sentiro 

Lo colpo tal, che disperar perdono. 

Consider the following mai^nal letters of the first lines of 
these four terzine, lines i, 4, 7, and 10: 



Read: peremas 

Peremas, "Do thou rtmove," is the second person, singu- 
lar, present subjunctive of the Latin peremo. 

Another acrostic may be read on the same lines; it appears 
on the initials of these lines: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



a8 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



Read: spem 

The concurrence of the two acrostics, peremas and spem, 
on the same lines is not accidental. For the remarkable asso- 
ciations which Dante establishes between the two words, 
PEREMAS and SPEM, see Chapter VII. 

Subsidiary to the acrostics on the ten-line frame, peremas 
and spem, is an acrostic on the first six lines of the canto. 
Consider on these lines the following initial and contiguous 
letters. 

I PE 
3 OMA 

3 c 

4 e cant 

5 00 



Read: poema. ecco dante 

In this anagrammatic acrostic the word poeha appears 
very plainly in the first two lines as a cluster of letters. Such 
a cluster of significant letters, all of which are contiguous, is a 
common form of cryptogram at the beginnings and the ends 
of poems and in other salient positions. I regard such crypto- 
graphic clusters of contiguous letters, which are indeed 
identical in form with the anagrammatic acrostic, as the form 
from which the anagrammatic acrostic is derived. 

The last ten lines of Purgatorio, xxxiii. 136-145, jn which I 
shall show an acrostic on the ten-line frame, read as follows: 

S' io avessi, lettor, pid lungo spazio 136 

Da scrivere, io pur canterei in parte 

Lo dolce ber che mai non m' avria sazto; 
Ma perchi piene son tutte le carte 139 

Ordite a questa Cantica seconda, 

Non mi Uscia pid ir lo fren detl' arte. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



ACROSTICS 29 

lo ritomai dalla santissim' ondz 142 

Rifatto si, come piante novelle 

Rinnovellate di novella fronda, 
Pure e disposto a satire alle stelle. 145 

Consider the following marginal letters of the last line and 
the fourth, seventh, and tenth from the last: 



136 


SI 


U9 


MA 


142 


10 RI 


M5 


P 


I: Pio 


RIMASI 



Subsdiary to this acrostic on the ten-line frame ts an 
acrostic on the last four lines. Consider the following initial 
and contiguous letters of these lines: 



Read: puri rii 

The first four terzine of Paradiso, i. 1-12, in which I shall 
show an acrostic on the ten-line frame, read as follows: 

La gloria di colui che tutto move 

Per r universo penetra, e risplende 

In una parte piil, e meno altrove. 
Nel del che piil della sua luce prende 4 

Fu' io, e vidi cose che ridire 

Nft sa, n^ pu6 chi di lassil discende; 
Perch^, appressando s,h a\ suo disire, 7 

Nostro intelletto si profonda tanto, 

Che retro la memoria non pu6 ire. 
Veramente quant' io del regno santo 10 

Nella mia mente potei far tesoro, 

Sard, ora materia del mio canto. 

Consider the following initial and contiguous letters of the 
first lines of these terzine, lines i, 4, 7, and 10: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



Read: vela pene 

Subsidiary to this acrostic on the ten-tine frame is an 
acrostic on the first three lines of the canto. Consider on these 
lines the following initial and contiguous letters: 

I LA 

3 PER 

3 IK UNA 

Read: in una perla 

The last ten lines oi Paradiso, vxxm. 136-145, in which 1 
shall show an acrostic on the ten-line frame, read as follows: 

Tale era io a quella vista nuova: 136 

Veder voleva, come si convenne 
L' imago al cerchio, e come vi s' indova; 

Ma non eran da ci6 te proprie penne, 139 

Se non che la mia mente fu percossa 
Da un fulgore, in che sua voglia venne. 

All' alta fantasia qui manc6 possa; 142 

Ma gi& volgeva il mio disiro e il velle. 
Si come rota ch' egualmente S mossa, 

L' amor che move il sole e V altre stelle. 145 

Consider on the last line of the canto and the fourth, 
seventh, and tenth from the lost, that is, the last line of the 
canto and the first lines of the three preceding terzine, the 
following initial and contiguous letters: 

136 TA 
139 MA 



Read: l'amata 

Subsidiary to this acrostic on the ten-line frame is an 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



ACROSTICS 31 

acrostic on the following initial and contiguous letters of the 
last four lioes of the canto: 



145 L 
Read: salha 

I have BOW shown acrostics oo the ten-line frame, each 
with a subsidiary acrostic, at the beginning and at the end of 
each of the three main divisions of the Divina Commedia: 
Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso. Let us now examine the 
meaning of dfiese acrostics in relation to the meaning of the 
poem. The examination wilt be necessarily brief and in- 
complete; it will merely suggest, in the present chapter, 
certain aspects of the symbolism of the Divina Commedia 
which will have to be developed in detail in the succeeding 
chapters. 

Turn first to the acrostics, nati and nemica, which appear 
at the beginning of Inferno. Nati is profoundly appropriate 
to the symbolism not only of the opening lines of the poem 
but also of the poem as a whole. The theme of the poem is 
mankind, the children who arc born into the selva oscura, 
the moral obscurities of the life on earth. 

The lives of the nati are typified by the life of Dante him- 
self, who, as the hero of an autobic^raphical dream, portrays 
himself as the representative man on the journey from birth 
to death. But the life of Dante, as he portrays it in his poem, 
is not merely a typical life. It is also, like the life of Christ, 
a model life. He proceeds on his journey from Hell to Heaven, 
from evil to good, from htmian to divine; he is morally 
regenerated. Regeneration is literally rebirth; and rebirth, 
or birth, in its physical aspects, has been universally used as 
a symbol of moral regeneration. An illustration from the 
Bibje of moral regeneration e]q}re3sed, or understood, in 
terms of physical birth, appears in the conversation between 
Nicodemus and Christ, John iii. 3-7: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



32 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

"Jesus answered and said unto him. Verity, verily, I say 
unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the 
kingdom of God. 

"Nicodemus saith unto him. How can a man be born when 
he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's 
womb, and be born ? 

"Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a 
man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into 
the kingdom of God. 

"That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which ia 
bom of the Spirit is spirit. 

" Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be bom again." 

The same idea of moral rebirth as symbolized by physical 
birth is expressed in the familiar passages: "Except ye be 
converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter 
into the lungdom of heaven;" and "SuiFer the little children 
to come unto me: and forbid them not, for of such is the 
kingdom of God." 

"Die idea of rebirth underlies the whole story of Christ 
himself, since he is first bom — or reborn, if considered as 
previously existing in the Trinity — of the Virgin Mary, and 
is afterwards rebom — resurrected — from the grave to his 
divine life as God. 

The rebirth symbolism so literally expressed in the Gospels 
pervades the Divina Commedia to a degree, I believe, hitherto 
unsuspected; and it implies necessarily, for the man who is 
reborn, either a mother who bears him twice, or else the 
existence of two mothers, one the mother of his human life 
and one the mother of the divine life. The first is evil, since 
she delivers her child into the evil life of the flesh. The second 
is good, since she delivers her child into the divine life of the 
spirit. The symbolism of the dual mother, or of two mothers, 
is inherent in the symbolism of moral rebirth, and it is 
expressed in the Dhina Commedia. The evil mother of Dante 
is she who has delivered him into the evil life in which he has 
hit himself at the beginning of the poem. The good mother of 
Dante is she who delivers him into the divine life in which he 
_fituis himself at the end of the poem; she is no other, in fact, 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



ACROSTICS 33 

than Beatrice, who delivers Dante into the life of the spirit 
by virtue of his love for her and her love for him. 

Now there is a passage in the conversation between Christ 
and Nicodemus about rebirth which is of the highest im- 
portance for the interpretation of all myths and allegories of 
rebirth; it is the question of Nicodemus: "How can a man be 
born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his 
mother's womb, and be bom?" The idea of entering the 
mother's womb a second time as the means of rebirth is 
common to the mythologies and religions of many — I might 
even venture to say of all — ^peoples; and it is an idea which 
implies an act of incest, whether disguised or overt, since the 
only way of reentering the womb from which a man is born is 
by the act of sexual union. Sometimes, indeed, the incestuous 
element in myths and allegories of rebirth is disguised by the 
fact that the man to be reborn is represented as having,'a3 I 
have already su^ested, two mothers. But these two mothers 
must be understood, in the last analysis, as representing 
simply the two functions of motherhood which the one mother 
possesses: the function of conceiving the child, as from sexual 
union, and the function of delivering the child, as in child- 
birth. In myths and allegories of rebirth, therefore, in which 
there are two mothers, these two mothers refer to the one 
mother who first bore her child and then received him back 
into her womb, as by sexual union, in order that she might 
again give him life. Incest in myth and religion is a universal 
symbol of the means of rebirth; and it is necessary to 
recc^nize this symbolism in order to understand the meaning 
of the Divina Commedia. Throughout the present volume I 
will show that the Divina Commedia is based on a conscious 
and highly rationalized symbolism of incest as the means by 
which the rebirth of the hero Dante is accomplished. 

In connection with the symbolism thus suggested of the 
acrostic nati, it becomes evident that the acrostic kemica 
is the crjfpt(^raphic expression, just as the seha oscura is the 
symbolic expreswon, of the evil mother, from whom the nati 
are born. Indeed, as a detail of the cryptc^aphic form, the 
HEMicA, an acrostic on four lines, suggests the mother in the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



34 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

sense tbnt the nati, an acrostic on the ten-line frame, is 
formed in part of the very body of the nehica, the tetters h, 
line I, and A, line 4, and also, in extending beyond the four- 
tine frame of the nemica, grows out of it. 

Let us now consider the meaning of the two acrostics: 
sol: d . . . e and dante esce qui, which appear at the 
conclusion of Inferno. The acrostic: dante esce qui, has an 
obvious correspondence to the text, which actually descriljes 
how Dante issues from Hell. The acrostic: sol: d . . . e, 
points to the association of Dante, as the hero of the poem, 
with the sun as his symtiot. The sun symlx)lism of the Divina 
Copimedia has never been sufficiently understood; in the 
course of the present volume I shall have occasion to develop 
it in detail, and I shall t>e able to confirm it with abundant 
cryptographic proof. I will confine myself at present, there- 
fore, to indicating that the sun, which has universally tieen 
used as the symtx>l of God and which constantly appears, in 
Christian symtwtism, as the symlx)! of Christ, is consistently 
used throughout the Divina Commedia as the symbol of Dante. 
Dante's use of the sun as the symbol for himself is very ap- 
parent in the fact that his descent into Hell is synchronized 
with the descent of the sun, and that his ascent to Purgatory 
is synchronized with the rising sun. Other correspondences 
between Dante's journey and the course of the sun will be 
developed later; they prove that the theme of the poem might 
well be considered as a self-conscious variation of the sun 
myth. The two acrostics at the end of Inferno: dante esce 
QUI and SOL: d . . . e, confirm this idea, for the hour at 
which Dante issues from Hell is sunrise of Easter. 

Now the common feature of all sun myths, with which the 
theme of the Divina Commedia is thus suggested as analogous, 
is the idea of rebirth. The sun that in the evening sinks back 
in death into the mother earth from whom it was bom in the 
morning is to be born again in the morning to follow. This 
idea of the rebirth of the sun from the mother who had given 
birth to it in the first place involves the idea of incest — an idea 
which, as I have already suggested, is fundamental in the 
symbolism of the Divina Commedia. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



ACROSTICS 35 

The three acrostic readings which I show on the opening 
lines of Purgaiorio are: peremas and spem, on the ten-line 
frame, and the subsidiary: poema: ecco dante. The peremas 
is the most remarkable single word that I have discovered 
among the cryptograms of the Dtetna Commedia, and it 
appears very often. The use which Dante makes of this word 
is extremely complicated; for the detailed discussion of its 
meaning I shall have to refer the reader, therefore, to 
Chapter VII. For our present purposes it is sufficient to 
surmise that, as the Latin for " Do thou remove," pereuas 
instructs the reader of the Dhina Commedia to remove the 
veil that covers the secret meaning of the poem. 

The acrostic spem, which appears on the same lines which 
give PEREMAS, has a meaning which b obviously related to the 
meaning oi Purgatorio, in which hope is the prevailing mood. 
Hope in Purgatory contrasts with despair in Hell, as appears, 
indeed, in the inscription written over the gate of Hell: 

Lasciate ognt speranza, voi, ch' entrate. 

The appropriateness of the acrostic: poema: ecco dante, 
to the text is self-evident, since it signs Purgatorio at its 
beginning with the author's name. Cryptographic signatures 
are common at the beginning or the end of a main division 
of a work. Notice that the acrostic poema is echoed in the 
text, line 7, in the word poesh In the first line of the passage 
note the word tv/f, or "sails." This word suggests a pun on 
the word for "veil," oeJ, the presence of which in the text 
of the Divina Commedia is almost invariably associated with 
some cryptographic device. Another word which Dante 
constantly associates with his cryptograms is i/igegno, a 
reference to wit or cunning, which appears in the present 
passage in line 2. I ask the reader to bear in mind these 
associations until I confirm them by further examples. 

The acrostics which I have shown at the end of Purgatorio 
are: Pio riuasi and puri ru. The puri ru correspond 
obviously to the two streams Eunoe and Lethe, both of 
which are discussed in the concluding cantos of Purgatorio 
and in both of which Dante is bathed. These streams, as I 



)doyGoO(^lc 



36 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

shall develop later, are symbols of the two mothers, or of the 
dual mother, who constantly appears in myths of rebirth. 
I shall have to defer to a later chapter the discussion of 
Dante's bathing in these two mother images as symbolizing 
the physical relations of birth and sexual union. 

I shall likewise have to defer the discussion of the meaning 
of the acrostic: Pio rimasi. Let it suffice for the present to 
suggest that Dante has "slept" with Beatrice, Purg. xxxii. 
The description of this sleep expresses in symbolism which 
has not, I believe, been rect^ized, the idea that the two 
lovers have repeated in the Terrestrial Paradise, the Garden 
of Eden, the act for which Adam and Eve were expelled from 
it. The difference, however, between Dante and Adam is 
simply this, that where Adam sinned by disobedience to God, 
Dante remained "pious," or respectAil of the divine con- 
ditions for such intercourse. 

The acrostics at the banning o( Partuliso are: vela pene 
and IK UNA PEKLA. The meaning of these acrostics is 
appropriate to the text. In the symbolism of the sun as God 
the light of the sun is his phallic symbol. The phallic light 
which "penetrates the universe" as "in a pearl" is the 
principle which, in the literal sense, makes the earth, and, in 
the moral sense, the soul bear fruit. In the symbolism of the 
Dioina Commedia, as in the symbolism of primitive myth 
and religion, the analogies with the sexual organism on which 
the symbolism is based are developed in detail. For the dis- 
cussion of Dante's symbolism of light as phallic in relation to 
the female form of the universe, see Chapter VII. 

The two acrostics at the end of Paradiso are: l'amata and 
sALMA. Salma means corpo morto or corpo; it is a word which 
Dante uses. Par. xxxii. 1 13-1 14, in the phrase: 

II Figliuol di Dto 
Carcar si vuole della nostra salma. 

The appropriateness of the acrostic salma to the passage in 
which it appears, and, indeed, to the theme of the entire poem 
becomes evident in considering the theme of the poem in the 
light of Dante's own definition, in the letter to Can Grande: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



ACROSTICS 37 

"The subject, then, of the whole work, taken according to 
the letter alone, is simply a consideration of the state of souls 
after death; for from and around this the action of the whole 
work turneth. But if the work is considered according to its 
allegorical meaning, the subject is man, liable to the reward 
or punishment of Justice, according as through the freedom of 
the will he is deserving or undeserving."* 

It thus appears that the real subject of the poem, disguised 
as it is as a journey through the post-mortem regions of Hell, 
Purgatory, and Paradise, is in reality the life of man on 
earth— a journey, indeed, but a journey which begins with 
birth and ends with death. This meaning of the poem is 
indicated by the acrostic nati at the beginning of the poem, 
which symbolizes the birth of the hero Man, and by the 
acrostic salma at the end of the poem, which symbolizes his 
corpse, or death. And just as we find the female nemica 
in connection with the nati at the beginning of the poem, we 
find l'amata in connection with the salma at the end of the 
poem. L'amata is the beloved whom Dante rejoins, at the 
end of his journey, in death; and she contrasts with the 
NEMicA, from whom his journey begins at birth. Dante is at 
once, as I shall have to develop later, the lover of l'amata 
and, in a symbolical sense at least, her son, since it is through 
his love for her that he is reborn, or born to God. Thus the 
NEMICA and l'amata represent the two mothers, or the two 
aspects of the one mother, who is universally present in 
myths and allegories of rebirth. The nemica, as the evil 
mother, delivers the child from her womb to the evil life on 
earth; she is the mother of the evil life. L'amata, as the divine 
mother, receives the child back into her womb, as to the 
divine source of life in which the life of the son may be 
renewed. She is thus the mother of the divine life, a lorm of 
life which is constantly symbolized, not only in myths, 
dreams, and religion, but also in the allegory of the Dioina 
Commedia, as the prenatal existence in the womb. The foetus 
in the womb has been universally symbolized, as I shall show 
later, by the corpse in the grave; it is a symbolism which 
*Prom the tranilation of Dantt's Eltvett Letters by Chas. S. Latham. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



38 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DAMTE 

rationalizes the universal desire to consider the grave, or 
death, as the birthplace, or birth, of a life after death. 

The intra-uterine existence, as thus symbolized by the 
corpse in the grave, and as we shall see, by the soul in Hell or 
Purgatory or Paradise, is taken by Dante as the symbol of 
the return of the soul to God; the soul is thus enfolded again 
in the very source of life; and God, as the supreme object of 
love, is conceived as a divine motherhood from whose womb 
the soul is expelled in birth to the evil life of the fle^h on 
earth, and back to whose womb the soul once more returns 
for the life eternal. It is in this dual character of the mother 
as expelling and receiving the child that the nemica and 
l'ahata are to be considered as in the last analysis identical, 
and in Dante's relation to this dual character there Is neces- 
sarily implied the idea of incest. It is an idea, mcH'eover, which 
is inherent in the Christian symbolism of the birth of Christ. 
Dante expresses the idea supremely in the prayer to the 
Virgin Mary, Par. xxxiii. i : 

Vergine Madre, figlia del tuo Figlio. 
The complicated relationship implied in this line is both 
filial and marital. 

I showed in connection with the acrostics: nati and nemica, 
that the hemica seems to be indicated as the mother of the 
NATI by the acrostic figure of the nati as formed in part of 
the same letters as the nemica, and as extending beyond, or 
growing out of, it. The acrostic figure appears thus: 



Analogous to this acrostic figure of the nati, as children. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



ACROSTICS 39 

growing out of the maternal nehica is the acrostic figure of 
the SALUA, as corpse or foetus, in the womb of l'amata: 

136 TA 

137 

139 MA 



THE DIVISION INTO FOUR 

There is another division of the Dioma Commedia that has 
not yet been mentioned. I refer to the introduction to the 
poem, which is contiuned in the Brst canto of Inferno. The 
three regions of the life after death are generally considered 
as the scene of the Dtoina Commedia. In reality, however, the 
scene is the universe, which includes, in its entirety, the 
important region of Earth, and it is in the introductory canto 
of Injemo that the life on earth is represented by a symbolism 
that is as complete as it is compact. The apparent tripartite 
division of the Dhina Commedia thus conceals a division into 
four parts. 

The actual division into four of the apparent tripartite 
division of the poem is an essential feature of Dante's number 
symbolism. This fact, however, is not recognized; it is 
constantly said, to the contrary, that the number symbolism 
of the poem is based on three; and, in support of the three as 
the ba^ number, the Trinity of God is cited as suggesting to 
Dante the numerical structure that he follows not only in the 
division of his poem into three main parts but also in his 
invention of the terzina, his peculiar stanza form of three 
lines. As a matter of fact, the instances cited in favor of the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



40 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

three symbolism of the Divtna Commedta prove the contrary; 
for both the Trinity and the terzina are in reality based on a 
concept of four. The four of the Trinity is evident in the basic 
Christian beUef that the Son of the Triune Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost makes a fourth in the human form in which he is 
reborn on earth as Christ. As Dante says, Par. i. 104-105: 

questo % forma 
Che I'universo a Dio fa simigliante. 

The statement that the universe, with its four-fold division 
into Paradise, Purgatory, Hell, and Earth, is tike God 
implies the four-fold aspect of God. 

Similarly, the terzina, which is apparently based on a 
system of three, is in reality based on a system of four lines; 
for the terzina form, by virtue of its unrhymed second tine, 
is only completed by the rhyme of the first line of the 
succeeding terzina, or, as in the case of the end of a canto, by 
the rhyme of the separate last line. 

The four which thus appears in the Trinity, in the structure 
of the Christian universe of Dante, and in the stanza form 
which he himself invented, is emphasized in the Divtna Corn- 
media by many symbols which I cannot at present take time 
to enumerate. The instances just cited, however, are sufficient 
in themselves to indicate that the poem is in reality divided 
into four principal parts, and that the number symbolism 
not only o( the poem but of Dante's conception of life is 
based, not on three, but on the relation of three to four. 

This view of the number symbolism of the Divtna Corn- 
media is consonant with the fact that Dante has placed 
acrostics on the ten-line frame at the end of Inferno i, the end 
of the division that might properly be called Terra, and at the 
beginning of Inferno ii, which is really the beginning of 
Ittfemo proper. 

The ten lines that show the acrostic at the end oi Inf. i are: 

In tutte parti impera, e quivi re^e, 127 

Quivi h la sua citti e t* alto seggio: 
O felice colui cui ivi eieggel' 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



ACROSTICS 41 

Ed io a lui: 'Poeta, io ti richieggio 130 

Per quello Dio che tu non conoscesti, 
Acciocch' io fugga questo male e peggio 

Che tu mi meni li dov' or dicesti, 133 

Si ch' io vegga la porta di san Pietro, 
£ color cui tu fai cotanto mesti.' 

Allot si niosse, ed io li tenni retro. 136 

Consider the following marginal letters of the last line and 
of the fourth, seventh, and tenth from the last: 

127 IN 

130 ED I 
»33 c 
136 A 
Read: e indica 

This is an incomplete reading of the acrostic on these lines. 
Notice the words Ed io, line 130; they are, as I shall show in 
the chapter on the Universal Form, a cryptic sign for Dante 
himself. The ihdica spelling dovm the line through the di of 
ED 10 makes a cross with ed 10, thus: 



The cryptographic reading, therefore, is in effect: ikdica 
ED 10. That is, it "indicates Dante;" and indicating Dante in 
the form of a cross, it su^ests the identification which he 
constantly makes of himself with Christ. For further dis- 
cus»on of the cryptographic content of this passage see 
pp. 1 51-1. 

The first four ter^ne oi Inf. ii are: 

Logtomo se n' andava, e I' aer bruno 

loelieva gli animai che sono in terra 

Dalle fattche loro; ed io sol uno 
M' apparecchiava a sostener la guerra 4 

SI del cammino e si della pietate, 

Che ritrarri la mente, che non erra. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



42 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

O Muse, o alto itigegno, or m' aiutate: 7 

O mente, che scrivesti ci& ch' io vidi. 

Qui ai parri la tua nobilitate. 
lo cominciat: 'Poeta che mi gaidi, 10 

Guarda la mia virtb, s' eHa i possente, 

Prima che all' alto pasao tu mi 6di. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
these four teraine: 



Read: l'omo 10 

Subsidiary to this acrostic on ten lines appears an acrostic 
on the following marginal letters of the first two lines: 



Read: loto 

The relation of these acrostics to the meaning of the text 
is very close. Loto, a term for/angOy commonly used to mean 
il gentre umano, corresponds to the English use of "clay" for 
"mankind." In the present instance, it is the generic term for 
what Dante, as l 'omo 10, represents as an individual. Dante, 
it is implied, represents mankind by virtue of the typical life 
in which he portrays himself. 

But the most interesting implication is to be found in the 
fact that both these acrostics spring from Lo giomo, line 1. 
The day, that is, the sun, is sinlung as Dante descends 
into Hell, and it rises again as Dante ascends to Purgatory. 
Dante thus, as the representative omo, whose nature is both 
human and divine, associates himself with the sun as the 
universal symbol both of mankind and of God. 

The four divisions of the Dioina Commedia are thus shown 
to be marked off by acrostics on the ten-line frame at the 
beginning and the end of each. The number symbolism of 
four in relation to three which this demarcation confirms is 
further confirmed by the structure of the acrostics them- 



)doyGoO(^lc 



ACROSTICS 43 

selves. The ten-line frame acrostic is constructed, essentially, 
on four terzine of three lines each — the number of lines in 
the terminal acrostics being necessarily diminished by the 
incomplete form of the final terzina. The four that thus 
appears in connection with a three — the number of lines 
being four times three — suggests again the symbolism of 3^. 
It is to be further noted that the four terzioe involved in the 
ten-line frame are very clearly marked o(F in /«/. i, Purg. i, 
and Par. i, as rhetorical units. In each of these openings the 
four terzine are separated from the fifth by a decided change 
of thought and subject. The coincidence of the acrostic frame 
with the rhetorical unit can scarcely be considered accidental. 

OTHER ACROSTICS 
ON THE TEN-UNE FRAME 

There are to be found in the Dioina Commedia many other 
acrostics on the ten-line frame both at the beginnings and the 
ends of cantos and in the interior of cantos. I will give here a 
few examples, simply for the purpose of further illustrating 
the structure. The remaining examples of acrostics on the 
ten-line frame I will reserve for later chapters, in which the 
meaning of the acrostics will serve to confirm my inter- 
pretation of the symbolism of the Dioina Commedia. 

The following passage, In/, viii. 82-93, consists of four 
terzine: 

lo vtdi pt& di mille in sulle porte 82 

Da' ciel piovuti, che stizzosamente 

Dicean: Chi i cestui, che senza morte 
Va per lo regno della morta gcnte?' 85 

E il savio mio Maestro fece segno 

Di voter lor parlar seeretametite. 
Allor chiusero un poco u gran disdegno, 8S 

E disser: 'Vien tu solo, e quei ten vada, 

Che s) ardito eattb oer questo r^no. 
Sol si ritomi per la folle strada: 91 

Provi se sa, chi tu qui rimarrai 

Che gli hat scorta si buia contrada.' 



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44 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Consider the following mai^^nal letters of the first lines of 
these ter^e: 

83 ID 

85 V 



Read: savio 

The passage begins, line 82, with the words lo vidi; we 
shall see later that the presence of these words at the begin- 
ning of a terzina is frequently a hint of the presence of a 
cryptogram. The intention of the acrostic savio is con- 
firmed by the repetition of the word in line 86. 

Another hint of the presence of a cryptc^am is to be found 
in the acrostic on the three lines of the terzina be^nning line 
85. Consider the following marginal letters of these lines: 
8s V 

86 E 

87 DI 
Read: vedi 

In the second line of the terzina in which the acrostic vedi 
is found occurs the word saoio, line 86. Possibly the acrostic 
instruction to look is a direction to this word, the reap- 
pearance of which in the ten-line acrostic savio confirms 
the acrostic. 

The following passage. Par. xiv. 70-81, consists of four 
terzine: 

E s] come al sattr di prima sera 70 

Comincian per lo ciel nuove parvenze, 
SI che la vista pare e non par vera; 

Parvemi 11 novelle sussistenze 73 

Cominctar a vedere, e fare un giro 
Di fuor dair altre due circonferenze. 

O vero isfavillar del santo spiro, 76 

Come si fece subito e candente 
Agli occhi miei che vinti non goffrirol 

Ma Beatrice s! bella e ridente 79 

Mi si mostrd, che tra quelle vedute 
Si vuol lasciar che non seguir la mente. 



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ACROSTICS 45 

Consider the Tollowing marginal letters of the first lines of 
these four terzine: 



Read: poema 

The first four terzine of PuTg. ii are: 

GHk era il sole all' orizzontc giunto, 

Lo cui meridian cerchio copcrchia 

Jerusalem col suo pitH alto punto: 
E la notte che opposita a lui cerchia, 4 

Uscla di Gange l\ior colle bilance, 

Che le cag(pon di man quando soperchia; 
^ che le bianchc e Ic vcrmiglic guance, 7 

Uk dove 10 era, della bella Aurora 

Per troppa etate divenivan ranee. 
Noi eravam lunshesso il mare ancora^ 10 

Come gente cne pensa a suo cammmo, 

Che va col core, e col corpo dimora: 

Consider on the first lines of these four terzine the follow- 
ing mai^nal letters: 



Read: segno. 

For the importance which Dante attaches to the position 
of Jerusalem indicated in the text see pp. 267-72. 

The following passage, Purg. xiii. 145-154, consists of the 
last ten tines of the canto: 

'Or tjuesta k ad udir si cosa nuova,' 145 

Rispose, *che gran segno k che Dio t' ami; 
Per& col prego tuo talor mi giova. 

E chieggioti per quel che tupiil brami, 148 

Se mai calchi la terra di Toscana, 
Che a' miei propinqui tu ben mi rinfaml. 



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46 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Tu li vedrai tra quetta gente vana 151 

Che spera in TaUmone, e perdera^ti 

Piil di speranza, che a trovar la Diana; 
Ma piil vi metteranno gli ammiragli.' 154 

Consider the following marginal letters of the last line of 
the canto and of the first lines of the three preceding terzine: 

145 OR 

148 E 
151 T 
154 M 

Read: MOR.TE 

Note in the first line of the preceding terzina, line 14a, 
the words: E vioo sono. 

In Moore's text the first word of this passage is 0. 1 have 
adopted the reading Or of Toynbee and Casini. If the acrostic 
is accepted as intentional it establishes Or as the correct 
reading. 



ACROSTICS ON OTHER FRAMES 

In addition to the acrostics that appear on the first lines 
of four terzine there are others that appear on the first 
lines of more or less than four terzine. The following is an 
example of an acrostic that appears on the first lines of three 
terane. The passage is Par. xxii. 28-36, which reads: 

E la maggiore e la pii^ tuculenta 28 

Di quelle margame innanzi fessi, 
Per far di sh la mia voglia contenta. 

Poi dentro a lei udi': 'Se tu vedessi, 31 

Com' io, la caritil che tra not arde, 
Li tuoi concetti sarebbero espressi; 

Ma pcrch^ tu aspectando non tarde 34 

AU' alto fine, to ci far& risposta 
Pure al pensier di che si ti riguarde. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
these three terzine: 



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ACROSTICS 47 

38 E 

31 PO 
34 MA 
Read : poema 

The following passage, Par. xv. 76-84, consists of three 
terzine: 

Perocchi il Sol, che v' allum6 ed arse 76 

Col caldo e con la luce, d si iguali, 

Che tutte suniglianze sono Karec. 
Ma voetia ed argomento nei mortal!, 79 

Per la cagion ch' a voi £ manifesta, 

Divenamente son pennuti in aji. 
Ond' io che son mortal, mi sento in questa Ba 

Disagguaglianza, e perd non ringrazio, 

Se non col core, alia patema feata. 



Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines 
of these three terune: 



The following passage, Purg. xi. 1-9, contains another 
acrostic on the first lines of three ternne: 



'O Padre nostro, che nei cieli stai, 
Non circonscritto, ma per pitl amore 
Che ai primi effetci di lass^ tu hai, 

Laudato Bia il tuo nome e il tuo valore 
Da ogni creatura, com' k dcgno 
Di render ^razic al tuo dolce vapore. 

Veena vcr noi la pace del tuo regooj 
Chi noi ad essa non potem da noi, 
S* elta non vien, con tutto nostro ingegno. 



Consider the following mai^inal letters on the first lines of 
these three terzine: 



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THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



Read: velo 

The word ingegno, line 9, is, as often, a hint. 

Following is an example of an acrostic on the last line of a 
canto and the first lines of the two preceding terzine, Purg. 
xvii. 133-139: 

Altro ben i che non fa t' uom felice; 133 

Non h felicitil, non h la buona 

Essenza, d' <^ni ben frutto e radice. 
L' amor ch' ad esso troppo s* abbandona, 136 

Di sopra noi si piange per tre cerchi; 

Ma come tripaitito si ragiona, 
Tacciolo, acciocchi tu per te ne cecchj.' 139 

Consider the following marginal letters of the last tine of 
the canto and of the first lines of the two preceding terane: 

136 l'am 

139 TA 

Read: l'amata 

This is a sort of "potence," as the acrostic word begins on 
L'amor. l'amata appears also in the acrostic at the end of 
Par. xxxiii. (see p. 30). 

Following is an example of an acrostic on the first lines of 
five terzine. Par. xxix. 61-75: 

Perchi le viste lor furo csaltate 61 

Con erazia illuminante, e con lor merto, 
SI ch hanno piena e Ferma volontate. 

E non voglio che dubbi ma sie certo, 64 

Che ricevcr la grazia h meritorio, 
Secondo che I' affctto gli h apeito. 

Omai dintomo a questo consistorio 67 

Puoi contemplare assai, se le parole 
Mie son ricoLte, senz' altro aiutorio. 

Ma perchi in terra per le vostre scuole 70 

Si legge che t' angelica natura 
£ talche intende e si ricorda e vuole, 



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ACROSTICS 

Ancor dirt, perchi tu veggi pura 73 

La veritk che laggiik si confonde, 
Equivocando in u fatta lettura. 

The initials of the first lines of these five terzine are: 



64 E 

67 O 

70 U 

73 A 

Read: poema 

Following is an example of an acrostic on the first lines of 
six terzine, Purg. xvi. 67-84: 

Voi che vivete, ogni cagion recace 67 

Pur suso at ciel, cosl come se tutto 

Movesse seco di necessitate. 
Se cosl fosse, in voi fora distrutto 70 

Libera arbitrio, e non fora giustizia. 

Per ben Ictizia, e per male aver lucto. 
Lo cielo i vostri movimenti inizia, 73 

Non dico tutti: ma, posto ch' io it dica, 

Lume v' h dato a bene ed a matizia, 
E libera voler, che, se fatica 76 

Nelle prime battaglie cot ciet dura, 

Poi vince tutto, se ben si nutrica. 
A maggior forza ed a mjgtior natura 79 

Liberi soggiacete, e quell a cria 

La mente in voi, che it ciel non ha in sua cura. 
Per6, se it mondo presente disvia, 81 

In voi h la cagione, in voi si che^a, 

Ed io te ne sar6 or vera spia. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first tines of 
these six terzine: 



67 


V 


70 


SE 


73 


L 


76 


E 


79 


AM 


83 


PER 


I: PEREMAS VEL 



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50 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Following is an example of an acrostic on four lines, Par. x. 

♦3-46: 

Perch' io lo ingegno, 1' arte e 1' uso chiami, 43 
St nol dicei ^e mai s' immaginasse, 
Ma creder puossi, e di veder si brami. 

E se le fantasie nostre son basse 46 

Consider on these four lines the following marginal letters: 

43 PER 

44 S 

45 MA 

46 E 

Read: peremas 

There is a hint in the words ingegno and arte. 
Another acrostic on four lines appears in the following 
passage, P<jr. viii. 100-103: 

E non pur le nature provvedute 100 

Son nella mente ch' h da s& pcrfetta. 

Ma esse insieme con la tor salute. 
Perchi quantunque questo arco saetta, 103 

Consider on these four lines the following marginal letters: 



103 PER 

Read: peremas 

Following is an acrostic on a single tenuna, Par. xxv. 
28-30: 

Ridendo allora Beatrice disse: 
' Inclita vita, per cui la lar^hezza 
Delia nostra basilica si scnsse, 

Consider the following marginal letters of these three lines: 



30 
Read: ride 



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ACROSTICS 51 

This is a sort of "potence>" as the acrostic word begins on 
Ridendo. 

Another acrostic on the three lines of a single ter^na 
appears in the following passage. Par, x. 52-54: 
E Beatrice incomincift: 'Ringrazia, 
Ringrazia il Sol degli Angeli, ch' a questo 
Sensibil t* ha levato per sua grazia. 

Consider the following marginal letters on these three lines: 



Read: rise 

Compare rise with the foregoing ride, which expresses the 
same idea in connection with Beatrice. 

Another example of an acrostic on the three lines of a 
single terzina appears in the following passage, Purg, xx. 1-3: 

Contra miglior voler voler mal pugna; 
Onde contra il piacer mio, per piacerli, 
Trassi dell' acqua non sazia la spugna. 
Consider the following maipnal letters of these three lines; 



3 TRA 

Read: contra 

This is a potence, as the acrostic word begins on Contra. 
The following pass^e, Par. i. 85-87, consists of one 
terana: 

Ond' clla, che vedea me si com' io, 

A quietarmi 1' animo commosso, 

Pria ch' 4o a domandar, la bocca aprio. 

Consider the following marginal letters of these three lines: 

85 o 

86 A 

87 PRI 
Read: aprio 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



52 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

This repeats the word aprio in the text. 

The following passage. In/, xvi. 88-90, consists of one 
teruna: 

Un emmen non saria potuto dirsi 
Tosto cobI, com' ei furo spariti: 
Perchi al Maestro parve di partirsi. 

Conader the following marginal letters on these three lines: 

88 UN 

89 TO 

90 p 

Read: punto 

Ammen is in a sense a punto. 

Following is one terzina, Purg. vii. 16-18: 

'O gloria it* Latin,' disse, 'per cui 
Mostr6 ci& che potea la lingua nostra, 
O pregio etemo del loco ond' io fui. 

The initials of the lines of this teruna are: 



Read: oho 

OMO, as a form of uomo, appears frequently in the crypto- 
grams in the Divtna Commedia. 

The foregoing acrostics are sufficient to illustrate the 
structure of the shorter acrostics which I have discovered in 
the Divina Commedia. With the exception of the necessarily 
brief suggestion of the implications of the acrostics at the 
beginning and the end of the four main divisions of the Divina 
Commedia, I hfive not attempted to explain the meaning of 
the acrostics shown m the present chapter in relation to the 
meaning of the poem. The whole question of meaning is 
deferred to succeeding chapters. 



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Chapter III 
SIGNATURES 



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MByGoOl^lc 



Chapter III 
SIGNATURES 



THERE is apparently but a single instance of Dante's 
use of his own name in the Divina Commedia; it occurs, 
Purg. XXX. 55, in the words with which Beatrice addresses 
him. And apparently Dante is seeking to excuse himself for 
using his name when he says, lines 62-63; 

mi voisi al suon del nome mio, 
Che di necessitiL qui si registra. 

The necessity, apparently, is that his name occurs in the 
words of Beatrice which he is obliged to record. The excuse, 
if it is an excuse, may be related to the opinion, expressed in 
the Convioioy i. 2, 8-17: Par/are alcuno di si medesimo pare 
non licito . . . Non si concede per li retiorici alcuno di si 
medesimo senza necessaria cagione par/are. 

Now the duplicities of Dante's language are such that he 
repeats the mention of his name in the very words with which 
he excuses it. In his reference to his name, which, as he says, 
di necessity qui si registra, Dante may be understood to be 
saying that his name is "registered here" in the words: di 
necessita; that is, that the words: di NECESSiTA,are the form 
which he here uses for his signature. 

But how can di necessita be deciphered as a signature 
of DANTE ? The hint for the method of deciphering is given 
in the words, lines 58-59: 

Quasi ammiraglio, che in poppa ed in prora 
Viene a veder, 



and, line 62: 

mi volsi al suon del i 



Issl 

DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc 



$6 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

There are here suggested the sweeping glance that looks 
fore and aft, and the idea of turning at the sound of dakte. 
Let us examine now the two words of the signature di 
NECESsiTA. Note, first, that the word di is also the spelt 
form of the letter d, as which it may be at once considn^. 
Wc have then for the signature: 

D NECESSITA 

Turn, now, fore and aft, and keep on so turning. In other 
words, read, first, the first letter, or d; second, the last letter, 
or A; third, the letter next the first letter, or n; fourth, the 
letter next the last letter, or t; and fifth, the letter nearest 
the front again, or £. The letters remaining spell cessi, or 
"stop," so that the cryptogram directs the decipherer to 
stop as soon as he has spelt dante. This spelling device is 
perfectly regular. Instead of being read in a straight sequence, 
the letters are to be read in a sequence of regular alternations 
between the letters at the extreme left and the extreme 
right. 

The regularity of the device will appear by numbering 
the letters in the order in which they are to be read: 

D N E cessi T A 

135 42 

This hidden signature of Dante is one of a large number 
contuned in the Dhina Commedia. In the present chapter 
I will show some of these signatures and the cryptographic 
devices on which they are based. Many of the signatures will 
have a value that cannot be overestimated for illuminating 
some of the obscurest passages in the poem. 



ACROSTIC SIGNATURES 

In connection with the letter cluster shown in the preced- 
ing chapter at the beginning of Purg. i. in which Dante 
signs his poem: poema: ecco dakte, see the last ten lines of 
Purg. xxiui. 151-160: 



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SIGNATURES 57 

E come perch% non glj fosse tolta, 151 

Vidi di costa a lei dritto un gigante, 

E baciavansi insietne alcuna volta: 
Ma perch^ 1* occhio cupido e vagante 154 

A me rivolse, quel feroce drudo 

La flagell6 dal capo infin le piante. 
Poi di sospetto pieno c d' ira crudo, 157 

Disciolse il mostro, e trassel per la selva 

Tanto, che sol di lei mi fece scudo 
AUa puttana ed alia nuova belva. 160 

Consider the following marginal letters of the last line of 
the canto and of the iirst lines of the three preceding terzine: 



154 M 

157 PO 

itiO A 

Read: poema 

But this is not the only acrostic in the passage, for there 
is another on the lines between the lines already used to spell 
POEMA. The lines between the lines already used, 151, 154, 
157, and 160, are lines 153, 153, 155, 156, 158, and 159. 
Consider the following mat^nal letters of these lines: 



153 


E 


^SS 


A 


156 


L 


158 


D 


»S9 


TAN 


[: VELA DANT 



DANT is a form that, as we shall see, Dante uses else- 
where. The acrostic poema on the ten-tjne frame may be 
understood, since it appears on the salient and enclosing 
lines of the passage, to veil the acrostic on the intervening 
lines. In other words, poema vela dant; the poem is the 
vdl behind which Dante is hidden. 

A possible hint of the cryptographic intention may be 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



58 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

seen in the words disciolseilmos:rozndocckio . . . vagante 
a me. Dante is here associated with the putlana, as he is in 
Inf. xviii. 117-136 (see pp. 59-60). The symbolism of this 
association is explained in Chapter VI, pp. 179-80. 

Contrasting with this acrostic signature which appears 
as subsidiary to another acrostic built on the ten-line frame 
are others in which the ten-line frame is used for the signa- 
ture itself. An example occurs in Par. xxvi. 94-105: 

Devoto quanto posso a te supplico 94 

Perchi mi parti; tu vedi mia voglia, 
E per udirti tosto non la dico.' 

Tal volta un animal coperto broglia .97 

S) che I' affetto convien che si paia 
Per lo seguir che face a lui I'invoglia; 

E similmente I' anima primaia loo 

Mi facea trasparer per ta coperta 
Quant' ella a compiacermi venia gaia. 

Inai spir6: 'Senz' essermi profFerta 103 

Da te, la voglia tua discemo meglio 
Che tu qualunque cosa t' h pitl certa. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines 
of these four terzine; 
94 D 
97 TA 



Read: 1', dante 

Notice in connection with this acrostic signature the line 
on which it ends, Hne 103, and the line next following. 
Consider the following marginal letters of these lines: 



Read: i', dante 

The repetition on lines 103-104 of the words 1', dante, 
which appear on the ten-line frame, is strong confirmation 
of the intentional character of both acrostics, and the subject 



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SIGNATURES 59 

of the passage itself confirms the intention. The subject is 
Adam, in whom, as the father of mankind, Dante exists. 
Moreover, the words: 

Mi facea trasparer per la coperta, 

say pl^nly enough that dante may be made to appear 
through the covering of the text. Un animal coperto and 
convien che st paia are likewise expressions which may be 
taken as having a similar reference to the cryptogram. It is 
to be noticed also that the passage as a whole begins with the 
letters de, the iirst and last of dante and constantly used 
in the poem, wther as de or ed, to indicate both the name 
itself and the presence of a cryptogram in the passage of 
which they are the beginning or the end. The passage is fur- 
ther bounded, first and last, by the significant letters d, line 
94, and i, line 103. These letters also arc used by Dante to 
suggest lus own name and to indicate the limits of crypto- 
graphic passages. 

Another example of a signature on the ten-line frame 
appears in Inf. xviii. 127-136: 

Appresso cib I0 Duca: 'Fa che pinghe,* 127 

Mi disse, 'il viso un poco pii^ a v ante, 
SI che la faccia ben con gli occhi attinghe 

Di auella sozza e scapigliata fante, i}0 

Cne \k si graSia con T' unghie merdose, 
Ed or s' accoscia, ed ora h in piede stante. 

Taide h la puttana, che rispose 133 

Al drudo suo, quando disse: "Ho io grazie 
Grandi appo te?" "Anzi meravigliose." 

E quinci sien le nostre viste sazie.' 136 

An interesting feature of the acrostic agnature which 
appears here is that it occurs with another acrostic on the 
same lines. The two acrostics are thus concurrent. Before 
showing the dante signature I will show the acrostic that 
coincides with it. Consider first the following marginal 
letters of the last line, the last of the canto, and of the first 
lines of the three preceding terzine: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



6o THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



133 T 

136 E 

Read: taide 

Taide is the name of the harlot mentioned in the text, 
and the acrostic, since it repeats a word of the text and uses 
the initial of that word as one of its own letters, is a 
"potence." The repetition in the acrostic of the name in the 
text is confirmation of the intention of the acrostic. 

The signature dante to which I referred as concurrent 
vnth this acrostic taide appears by taking on the same 
lines the following marginal letters: 

137 a 

130 D 
133 T 

136 E qUIN 

Read: dante qui 

The text contains an unmistakable hint that a signature 
is concealed. This hint is found in the double meaning of the 
following words of Virgil to Dante himself, 127-129: 
Fa che pinghe 
. . . un poco 11 vise pltl avante, 
Si che la faccia ben con gU occhi attinghe. 

If these words are taken as having the double meaning of 
which they are capable, Dante is told to show himself. This 
command, moreover, is immediately followed by a line, 130, 
of which the first letter, d, and the last letters, ante, spell 
DANTE. For a discussion of this device and for other examples, 
see pp. 71-4. 

Tne two concurrent acrostics: taide and dante qui, show 
Dante and the puttana together. It is in harmony with the 
deeper symbolism of the poem that hero and harlot are 
involved with each other (see pp. 179-80). 

The following passage, Purg. xx. loo-lll, conasts of 
four terzine: 



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SIGNATURES 

Tanto'^ risposta a tutte nostre prece, loo 

8uanto il d! dura; ma, quand e' s' annotta, 
ontrario suon prendemo in quella vece. 

Noi ripetiam Pigmalion allotta, 103 

Cui traditore e ladro e patricida 
Fece la voglia sua dell' oro ghiona; 

E la miseria dell' avaro Mida, 106 

Che segu) alia sua domanda ingorda. 
Per la qual sempre convien che si rida. 

Del foUe Acan ciascun poi si ricorda, 109 

Come fur& le spoglie, si che 1' ira 
Di josai qui par ch' ancor lo tnorda. 



Consider on the first lines of these four tendne the follow- 
ing marg^al letters: 



top D 
Read: dakte 

The following passage, Par. vi. 61-70, consists of four 
terzine: 



Quel che fe'poi ch'egli uscl di Ravenna, 61 

E saltb Rubicon, Tu di tal volo 

Che nol seguiteria lingua ni penna. 
In ver la Spagna rivolse lo stuolo; 64 

Poi ver Durazzo, e Farsalia percosse 

Si ch' al Nil caldo si sentl del duolo. 
Antandro e Simoenta, onde si mosse, 67 

Rivide, e Ik dov' Ettore si cuba, 

E mal per Tolommeo poi si Hscosse: 
Da indi scese folgorando a Juba; 70 

Poscia si volse nel vostro occidente, 

Dove sentia la Pompeiana tuba. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines 
of these four terzine: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



62 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



64 I 

67 ANT 
70 D 

Read: dante qui 

The first four terzine of Par. n are: 

O voi che siete in piccioletta barca, 

Desiderosi d' ascot tar, seguiti 

Retro al mio legno che cantando varca, 
Tornate a riveder li vostri liti. 4 

Non vi mettete in pelago; chi forse 

Perdendo me rimarreste smarriti. 
L' acqua ch' io prendo giammai non si corse: 7 

Minerva spira, e conducemi Apollo, 

E nove Muse mi dimostran I' Orse. 
Voi altri pochi, che drizzaste il coUo 10 

Per tempo al pan degli Angeli, del quale 

Vivesi qui, ma non sen vien satollo. 

Consider on the first lines of these temne the following 
mat^nal letters: 



Read: volto 

Compare volto with the idea of turning in the text. 
The meaning of this acrostic is repeated in the acrostic 
on the first four lines of the canto: 



3 R 

4 TORNATE 

Read: rotor, dante 

Rotor is the first person singular, present indicative 
passive, of the Latin roto, " I revolve." The use of this word 
in connection with a signature is a reference, as in gira 



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SIGNATURES 63 

(see p. 96), to the cryptt^aphic device of revolving the 
letters in such a way as to give the hidden reading. 
"Revolve," is the word used to hint at the cryptc^am in 
the anonymous letter to Malvolio, in Twelfth Night. 

There is reason to suspect the existence of a cryptogram 
in any passage tn the Dhina Commedia that shows a 
marked symmetry in the repetition of a word or phrase. Such 
a repetition occurs in the four terzine, Purg. vi. 106-117: 

Vieni a veder Montecchi e Cappelletti, 106 

Monaldi e Filippeschi, uom senza cura: 
Color gi^ tristi, e questi con sospetti. 

Vien, crudel, vieni, e vedi la pressura 109 

De' tuoi gentili, e cura lor magagne, 
£ vedrai Satitafior com' h sicura. 

Vieni a veder la tua Roma che piagne, 112 

Vedova e sola, e di e notte chiama: 
'Cesare mio, perch^ non m' accompagne?' 

Vieni a veder la gente quanto s* ama; 115 

£ se nulla di noi pietk ti move, 
A vergognar ti vien della tua fama. 

The cryptogram is concealed here on all the lines except 
the four lines banning with the same word: yien. Consider 
on the second and third lines of each of the four terzine the 
following marginal letters: 



106 


[vieni] 


107 


MON 


108 


COL 


109 


[VIEN] 


ItO 


DET 




E 




[viENi] 




VE 




C 




[viENi] 




E 


117 


A 


Read: veld 


. ECCO ME, DANTE 



DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc 



64 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

The following passage, Inj. xvii. 1-12, consists of the first 
four terzine of the canto: 

'Ecco la fiera con la coda aguzza, 

Che passa i monti, e rompe i muri e I' armi; 

Ecco colei che tutto il mondo appuzza.' 
SI comincid lo mio Duca a parlarmi, 4 

Ed accennoUe che venisse a proda, 

Vicino al fin de' passeggiati marmi: 
E guella sozza imagine oi froda 7 

Sen venne, ed arriv& la testa e il busto; 

Ma in suUa riva non trasse la coda. 
La faccia sua era faccia d' uom giusto; 10 

Tanto benigna avea di fuor la pelle, 

E d* un serpente tutto T aitro fusto. 

Consider on the first lines of these four terzine the follow- 
ing marginal letters: 



7 E QU 

10 LA 

Read: sei^uela 

The " sequel " is to be found in the marginal letters of the 
last two lines of the passage: 

11 TAH 
IS ED 

Read: dante 

The following passage, Par. i. 13-245 consists of four 
terzine: 

O buono Apollo, all' ultimo lavoro 13 

Fammi del tuo valor st fatto vaso. 
Come domandi a dar 1' amato alloro. 

Intino a qui I' un giogo di Parnaso 16 

Assai mi fu, ma or con ambedue 
M' ^ uopo entrar nell' aringo rimaso. 

Entra nel petto mio, e spira tue 19 

Si come quando Marsia traesti 
Delia vagina delle membra sue. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SIGNATURES 65 

O divina vittd, se ml ti presti 32 

Tanco che V ombra del beato regno 
Segnata net mio capo io manifesti, 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
these terzine: 



Read: 10 entro 

Dante is entering tteir aringo rimaso, the last stage of his 
journey. This passage follows immediately after the acrostic 
VELA PEKE (see pp. 29-30). The two acrostics are to be read 
together in the light of the symbolism, explained in Chapter 

VII, of DANTE as PENE. 

Now consider the following marginal letters of lines 21-24: 



33 TAN 

S4 SEON 

Read: seoko dante 

All but the first of the cryptograms shown so far in this 
chapter are acrostics appeanng on the ten-line frame or 
acrostics subsidiary to them. But the ten-line frame is not 
the only frame on which the acrostics in the Divina Commedia 
are constructed. The following is an acrostic signature on 
the first lines of three terzine, Purg. xxix. 16-24: 

Ed ecco un lustro subito trascorse 16 

Da tutte parti per la gran foresta, 

Ta) che d! balenar mi mise in forse. 
Ma perch^ il balenar, come vien, resta, 19 

E auel durando piil e piit splendeva, 

Nel mio pensar aicea: 'Che cosa h queata?' 
Ed una melodia doice correva 22 

Per r aer luminoso; onde buon zelo 

Mi fe' riprender I' ardimento d' Eva, 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



(>e THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

The initials of the first lines of these terzine are: 
i6 E 
19 M 
33 E 

Read: e me 

Note that the first and last lines on which this acrostic 
reading is found begin respectively with ed. 

Consider on the two lines following the last ed, the 
last two lines of the last terzina, the following marginal 
letters: 

33 PER 

34 Ml 

Read: per mi 

This reading echoes the acrostic e me. 

The signature which appears in this passage and which 
seems to be hinted at by the acrostics: e me and per mi, 
appears on the marginal letters of all the lines of the seven- 
line frame that is so conspicuously and symmetrically 
bounded at each end by ed. Consider the following marginal 
letters of these lines: 



Read: e me, dante 

It may be that there is a hint of the signature in the use of 
the word durando, line 20, with its phonetic suggestion of 
Durante, the early form of Dante. 

Hints in the text immediately preceding and following the 
acrostic passage are the words, line 1 5 : Frate mio, guarda ed 
ascolta; and, hne 27: 

Non sofferse di star sotto a|cun velo. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SIGNATURES 67 

Guarda ed ascolta may be taken to mean: "Look, hear 
D. . .e." The allusion to the veil may likewise be understood 
as having a reference to the veil of the text that hides the 
cryptogram. 

The following passage, Par. xxxii. 136-144, consists of 
three terzine: 

E contro al maggior Padre Ai famigUa 136 

Siede Lucia, cne mosse la tua Donna, 

Quando chinavi a ruinar le ciglia. 
Ma perch^ il tempo fugge che t' assonna, 139 

Bui farem punto, come buon sartore 
he, com' egli ha del panno, fa la gonna; 
E drizzeremo gli occhi al primo amore, 142 

Si che, guaraando verso lui, penetrt. 
Quant' h possibil, per lo suo fulgore. 

The initials of the first lines of these three terzine are: 

136 E 
139 M 

14Z E 

Read: e he 

Consider the following marginal letters of the third terzina: 

142 ED 

143 SI 

144 quant'e 
Read: se' qui, dante 

The following passage, Par, xxvii. 43-48, consists of two 



Ma per acquisto d' esto viver lieto 43 

E Sisto e Pio e Calisto ed Urbano 

Sparser lo sangue dopo molto fleto. 
Non fu nostra intenzion ch' a destra mano 46 

Dei nostri successor parte sedesse. 

Parte dall' altra, del popol cristiano; 

Consider the following marginal letters on the first lines of 
the two tenune: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



68 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



46 KO 

Read: noma 

Now consider the following marginal letters on all the 
lines: 



48 PARTE 

Read: peremas dante 

The following passage, Par. xv. 19-24, consists of two 
terzine: 

Tale, dal corno che in destro si stende, 19 

Al pi6 di quella croce corse un astro 

Delia costellazion che li nsplende; 
N& si parti la gemma dal suo nastro, 22 

Ma per la lista radial trascorse, 

Che parve foco retro ad alabastro. 

Consider first the following marginal letters of the first 
four lines; 



Read: dante 

In the lines on which this signature appears Dante is 
describing his vision of his ancestor Cacciaguida, who 
is seen like a star moving upon the cross seen at the same 
time. There is a suggestion that the star is reflected in the 
gleaming surface ofthe cross, and this reflection is repre- 
sented in a curious way by a second signature on the initials 
of the last words of lines 22, 23, and 24, taken in connection 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SIGNATURES 69 

with D before alahastro of tine 24. The two signatures may be 
shown as follows: 



Read on the initials of the telestic words, lines 12, 23, and 
24, together with the contiguous di dant. 

It is natural that Dante should see himself (his name) 
both in the light of his ancestor and as reflected in the crossj 
the symbol of humanity that reflects, necessarily, the char- 
acter of the human individual. The telestic dant on lines 2%, 
23, and 24, is the cryptographic reflection of the acrostic 
DANTE on lines 19, 20, 21, and 22. 

The following passage, Par. i. 107-1 10, consists of four 
lines: 

Dell' etemo valore, il quale h (ine 
Al quale h fatta la toccata norma. 
Nell' ordine ch' io dico sono accUne 109 
Tutte nature, per diverse sorti, 

Consider the following marginal letters on these four lines; 



108 

tOQ 

no 



Hints in the text may be found in the words forma, line 
104, and orma, line 106. 

The following passage is Inf. vi. 85-871 

E quegli: 'Ei son tra le anime pid nere; 
Diversa colpa ^iil 11 grava al fondo: 
Se tanto scendi, li potrai vedere. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



70 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Consider the following marginal letters on these lines: 

85 E qv 

86 Di 

87 SE TAN 

Read: dakte, se' qui 

Dante here identifies himself with the blacker spirits, as, 
indeed, he identifies himself with all chat he sees. Unlike 
Aeneas, who says of his experience: pars magna fui, Dante, 
as the dreamer of the universe, identifies himself with the 
whole of it. 

The following terzina is Inf. xxxiii. 109-111: 
Ed un de* tristj della fredda crosta 
Gnih a noi: 'O anime crudeli 
Tanto, che data v* h I'ultima posta. 
Consider the following marginal letters on these lines: 
109 ED 
no GRIDO 
I I I TAN 

Read: grido dante 

This echoes the sense of the text. There may be a hint in 
the line which follows this passage: 
Levatemi dal viso i duri veli. 
The following passage consists of the last four lines of 
/»/. xxiii: 

A[}presso il Duca a eran pass! sen f^, 145 

Turbato un poco d' ira nel sembiante: 
Ond' io dagl incarcati mi parti' 

Dietro alle poste delle care piante. 148 

Consider the following marginal letters: 

145 A 

146 t 

147 ON 

148 DIE 

Read: 10, dante 



)doyGoO(^lc 



SIGNATURES 7* 

STRING CIPHERS 

The last line of the foregoing passage, 148, contains an 
example of the "string" cipher, which may be seen in the 
letters which I here capitalize: 

Dietro Alle poste delle care piaNTE 

The string cipher is a device well known to students of 
cryptography. The device consists in spelling a name or other 
word or words in such a way that the first letter of the hidden 
word is the first letter of a unit of text, and the last letter of 
the hidden word is the last letter of the unit of text, and each 
of the interior letters of the hidden word, spelled in regular 
order, is the first instance of that letter to appear in the unit 
of text after the letter in the text already required for the 
preceding letter of the word. There are certain modifications 
of this method not indicated in the foregoing definition; I 
have not defined these modifications because they do not 
appear in the examples of the string cipher which I have 
discovered in the DiDiBaComrafrfia. The unit of text in which 
I have found string ciphers in the Divina Commedia is the 
angle fine. In the fine just quoted we begin with d, which is 
the first letter of the line, the Hne being a definite unit of text. 
We then take, not any a, but the next a, and the next n, and 
the next t, and the next e, which is the last letter of the tine. 

Following are several examples, in which I have capitalized 
for clarity the letters of the cryptt^am. 

Di quellA sozza e scapigliata faNTE. 

— Inf. xviii. 130. 
De' miei mAggior mi fer si arrogaNTE. 

— PvTg- xi. 62. 
Del quAl d fasciaN venTiquattro piantC. 

— Par. xii. 96. 
Dove ANchise (ini la lunga eTatE. 

— Par. xix. 132. 
DinANzi agli occhi miei le quaTtro facE. 

— Par. xxvii. 10. 
Ditene dove lA moNTagna giacE. 

— PuTg. iii. 76. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



72 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

DellA molt' aNni lagrimaTa pacE. 

—Purg. X. 35. 
Diogenes, ANassagora e TalE. 

—Inf. iv. 137. 
Diretro A me che Non era piu TalE. 

—Purg. xxxi. 57. 
Dunque cestui che tutte quANTo rapE 

— Par. xxviii. 70. 
Di che it polo di quA tutto quaNTo ardE. 

— Purg. viii. 90. 
DA si vil padre che si reNde a marTE. 

— Par. viii, 132. 
Di piegAr cosi piNTa in altra partE. 

— Par. i, 132. 
Due ANgeli con due spade affbcaTE. 

— Purg. viii. 26. 
DAI tuo potere e dalla tua boNTatE. 

— Par. xxxi. 83. 
DinANzi a me non fur cose creaTE. 

—Inf. iii. 7. 
Di guido o d'AlessaNdro o di lor fraTE. 

—Inf. XXX. 77. 
Di pugliA fu del suo saNgue dolenTE. 

— Inf. xxviii. 9. 
DA quella parte oNde il core ha la genTE. 

-Purg. X. 48. 
De' nostri sens! ch'e del limANenTE. 

— Inf. xxvi. 115. 
Diretro Al sol del moNdo senza genTE. 

— Inf. xxvi. 117. 
DA queste due se tu ti rechi a meNTE. 

— Inf. xi. 106. 
DA pigliar occhi per aver la meNTE. 

— Par. xxvii. 92. 
DA' ciel piovuti che stizzosameNTE, 

— Inf. viii. 83. 
Di voler lor pArlar segretameNTE. 

— Inf. viii. 87. 
Di quel ch'ei fe' col bAiulo segueNTE. 

— Par. vi. 73. 
Di bene in meglio si subitAmeNTE. 

—Par. X. 38. 
Di moise legistA e ubbidieNTE. 

-Inf. iv. 57- 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SIGNATURES 

DellA carNe d'adamo ond'ei si vesTE. 

—Purg. xi. 44. 
0*01) giro e d'un girAre e d'uNa seTE. 

— Par. viii. 35, 
Di fAre atlor che fuori alcuN si ineTtE. 

— Inf. xxii. 105. 
Del cui lAtiNo augusTin si prowidE. 

— Par. X. 120. 
Del sANgue piu che sua colpa sorTillE. 

— Inf. xii. 75. 
DellA NosTra basilica si scrissE. 

— Par. XXV. 30. 
Divenner membrA che Non fur mai visTE. 

— Inf. XXV. 75. 
Del cui nome ne* dei fu tANTa UtE. 

— Purg. XV, 98. 
DANnando se danno Tutta sua prolE. 

— Par. vii. 27. 
E)oDne mi pArver Non da ballo sciolTE. 

—Par. X. 79. 
Delle sustANzie che "Pappaion tondE. 

— Par. xxviii. 75. 
DicevA I'uN con taTro in sul gropponE. 

— Inf. xxi. loi. 
DAI 6U0 priNcipio ch'e in quesTo tronconE. 

— Inf. xxviii. 141. 
Dicendo le pArole tue sieN conTE. 

—Inf. X. 39. 
Debili si che perlA iN bianca fronTE. 

— Par. iii. 14. 
Dolce ch'io vidi primA a pie del moNTE. 

— Inf. xxiv. 21. 
DAU' altra spoNda vanno verso il monTE. 

— Inf. xviii, 33. 
Dell' Alto di i giroN del sacro monTE. 

— PuTg. xix. 38. 
Del vecchio pAdre Ne il debiTo amorE. 

— Inf. xxvi. 95, 
Oi pAradiso taNTo il nostro amorE. 

—Par. xiv. 38. 
Del romAN principaTo il cui valorE. 

—Purg. X. 74. 
DellA vera cittade atmeN la TorrE. 

— Purg. xvi. 96. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



74 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

DellA quartaNa ch* ha gia I'unghie smorTE. 

—Inf. xvii. 86. 
DAir altra parte m'eraN le devoTE. 

— PuTg. xiii. 82. 
Diverse voce FAN giu dolce noTE. 

— Par. vi, 124. 
DellA corNice onde cader si puoTE. 

— PuTg. xiii. 80. 
Di suA poteNza conTra il sotnmo gtovE. 

— Inf. xxxi. 92. 
DA molte stelle mi vieN quesTa lucE, 

— Par. XXV, 70. 
Del nostra pellicANo e quesTi fuE. 

— Par. XXV. 113. 

Perhaps the construction of the foregoing string ciphers, in 
which the reading is suspended until the last letter of the 
line, will be more clearly evident if we examine two lines in 
which this suspension does not occur: 

DA deNTi morsi dEUa morte avante. 

— PuTg. vii. 32. 

Here the reading is complete on an indeterminate place in 
the middle of the line and there is, accordingly, no string 
cipher. 

Di tANTa plEnitudine volante. 

— Par. xxxi. 20, 

Here again the reading ends before the end of the line. 
It may be that since these lines begin with D and end with 
ANTE, we should regard them as containing signatures, but 
they are certainly not string ciphers. I do not suggest that all 
the string ciphers shown above are intentional; the inten- 
tional character of some of them, however, seems to be con- 
firmed by hints in the text. 



LETTER SEQUENCES 

Dante seems to use as a cryptographic device sequences 
of letters which, when rearranged, yield the cryptc^raphic 
reading. I give here three examples. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SIGNATURES 75 

In Purg. xxiii. 91-92, is the following expression: 

Tant'fe a Dio piil cara e pi& diletta 
La vedovella mia. 

Notice in line 91 the letter sequence: nt E A D. These letters 
may be rearranged to read dante. It may be surmised that 
Dante set his signature here to indicate that in the reference 
to the vedooella he had in mind his own wife, widowed indeed 
by his exile. 
The following line is Par. i. 10: 

Veramente quant'io del regno santo. 

Note in these words the letter sequence: ant 10 de. These 
letters may be rearranged into a signature: 10, dante. This 
signature appears on the last line of the ten-line frame of the 
acrostic vela pene (see pp. 29-30). 
Line 8 of the same canto reads : 

Nostro intelletto si profonda tanto. 

The letter sequence in this line: nda t may be rearranged 
to read: dant. 

These letter sequences are like the one in Inf. viii. 105 
(see p. 79). 



ACROSTIC SIGNATURES WITH MISSING LETTERS 

There are in the Divina Commedia a number of acrostic 
signatures in which one of the letters of the signature is 
apparently missing. In every such instance the letter which 
is necessary for the spelling of the name and which is miss- 
ing from the acrostic letters is indicated, by some hint in 
the text, as existing somewhere in the interior of the text. 
In some instances the letter thus apparently missing is in- 
dicated, by some hint in the text, as existing in some equiva- 
lent substitute which the text supplies. The purpose of 
thus hiding an essential letter is in some instances to render 
the di^uise more complete and in other instances to sug- 
gest some symbolic association with the name. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



76 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

The following passage, Par. iv. 13-^, consists of four 
terzine: 

Fe' si Beatrice, qual fe' Daniello, 13 

Nabuccodonosor levando d' ira, 

Che r avea fatto ingiustamente fello, 
E disse: 'lo vegeio ben come ti lira 16 

Uno ed altro disio, s\ che tua cura 

S& stessa lega si che fuor non spira. 
Tu argomenti: "Se il buon voler dura, 19 

La violenza ahrui per qual ragione 

Di meritar mi scema la misuraf" 
Ancor di dubitar ti d^ cagione, 22 

Parer tornarsi 1' anime alle stelle, 

Secondo la sentenza di Platone. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
these four terzine: 



Read: fante 

Fante has the same significance as fancello or fanciuUo, 
With this acrostic fante Dante identifies himself by means of 
an acrostic signature on the same lines. Notice that In the 
five letters of the acrostic fante, four: ante, occur in the 
spelling of dante. If the F of fante were to be substituted 
by a D, the spelling of dante would be complete. That this 
substitution is to be made Is indicated by the sense of the 
text. According to line 13, "Beatrice did what Daniel did." 
It is in the implications of these significant words that the 
substitution of d for F is Indicated. The impHcation of these 
words is to be discovered by referring to the mcldent to which 
Beatrice here refers; her reference, as appears in Dan. ii, is 
to the fact that Daniel stood before the king and Interpreted a 
dream. What Beatrice did, therefore, in doing what Daniel 
did, was to make Daniel stand before, that is, at the front of 
the line, and so replace the f of Fe by the d of Daniello. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SIGNATURES 77 

By so doing, she substitutes the acrostic spelling of fakte 
by the acrostic spelling of dante. By this identification of his 
own name with fante Dante identifies himself as the child 
in the rebirth symbolism of the poem, by a device analt^ous 
to that by which he identifies his own name with the acrostic 
NATi (see pp. 103-5). 

Further hints in the text of cryptic intention are the words: 
per parlor distinto, line 12, which immediately precede the 
terzine containing the acrostic; and:/o veggio ben come tt tira, 
line 16. Parlor distinto may mean not only "distinct speech" 
but also "a different kind of speech," the different kind 
that is used in the cryptogram. And the words: lo ceggio 
hen come ti lira, may be understood, apart from the context, 
as alluding to how clearly the letters of the text may be seen 
to draw out the acrostic dante. 

An example of an acrostic to be read on five terzine may be 
seen in Inf. viii. 94-108; and the acrostic reading here will 
show another signature in which an essential letter is hidden 
in the body of the text in order to add to the disguise and also . 
to deepen the symbolism. The passage is: 

Pensa, Lettor, se io mi sconfortai 94 

Nel suon delle parole maledette: 
Ch' 10 non creoetti ritomarci mai. 

'O caro duca mio, che piil di sette 97 

Volte m' hai sicurti renduta, e tratto 
D' alto periglio che incontra mi stette, 

Non mi lasciar,' diss' 10, 'cosi disfatto: lOO 

E se '1 passar piil oltre c' h. negato, 
Ritroviam 1' orme nostre insieme ratto.' 

E quel signor che 11 m' avea menato 103 

Mi disse: 'Non temer, ch6 il nostro passo 
Non ci pub torre alcun: da tal n' i aato. 

Ma qui m attendi; e lo spirito lasso 106 

Conforta e ciba di speranza buona, 
Ch' io non ti lascer6 nel mondo basso.' 



Con^der the following marginal letters on the first lines of 
these five terzine: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



78 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



HON MI LASCIAR 



103 
106 



The letters, interrupted by the command: Non m lasciar, 

spell: POEMA. 

The command: Non mi lasciar, seems to hint that damte 
himself is not to be left out of the acrostic reading. Follomng 
the hint, read the following marginal letters of the line in 
which the command appears and of the lines on each side 
of it: 



If a T were supplied, these letters would spell: dakte. 
As it is, they suggest the name as either unfinished or muti- 
lated, and this very suggestion is made by Dante himself in 
• the complete form of his command, line 100: 
Non mi lasciar, diss' io, cosl disfatto. 
Dante, as an acrostic reading, is disfatto by the lack of a t. 
And because of this lacking t Dante may be understood, lines 
1 10 and 1 1 1 , as referring to the doubtful spelling of his own 
name when he says: 

ed io rimango in forse, 
Che'l ^ e 'I no nel capo mi tenzona. 

Now the lacking t is mentioned by Virgil, line 108, when he 
replies, as he may be understood as replying, to Dante: Non 
ti lascerb. The /; of these words is to be understood, for the 
cryptographic purpose of the passage, to be the very letter 
T in question; and Virgil may be understood to be refusing to 
leave the t in Hell, since Hell is no place for r, the symbol of 
the cross and of Christ. The letter t as a cross, and so as the 
symbol of Christ, is often used in the cryptography of the 
Divina Commedia. Consistent with the idea that the symbol 
of Christ, and therefore Christ himself, is not to be left in 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SIGNATURES 79 

Hell is the fact that Dante does not himself refer to Christ by 
name in Inferno. Dante must be content, therefore, to spell 
his name on the marginal letters of lines 99, 100, and loi, 
with the T thus mentioned as missing. 

The acrostic reads, then: poema: dante. 

In Villi's words of comfort to Dante for leaving him 
cosi disfatto, he says, lines 104 and 105: 

Non temer, ch% il nostro passo 
Non ci pu& torre alcun: da tal n h dato. 
Now the comfort of the words: da tal n'i dato, consists, from 
the point of view of the cryptographic intention, in the fact 
that they contain a letter sequence: nedat, which spells 
Dante's own name. 

There are several other examples of acrostic signatures 
with the T hidden. One occurs in Inf. xxiv. 70-84: 

lo era volto in giil; ma eli occhi vivi 70 

Non potean ire al fondo per 1' oscuro: 

Perch' io: 'Maestro, fa cne tu arrivi 
Dall* altro cinghio, e dismontiam lo muro; 73 

Ch& com' i' odo quinci e non intendo, 

Cosl gill veggto, e niente affiguro.' 
'Altra nsposta, disse, 'non tl rendo, 76 

Se non lo far: ch^ la domanda onesta 

Si dee seguir coU' opera tacendo.' 
Noi discenoemmo il ponte dalla testa, 79 

Dove s' aggiunge coll' ottava ripa, 

E poi mi lu la bolgia manifesta: 
E viaivi entro terribile stipa 81 

Di serpenti, e di si diversa mena, 

Che la memoria il sangue ancor mi scipa. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
these five terzine: 



83 E 
If a T were supplied, these letters would read: 10 dante. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



8o THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

It may be understood to be on account of the missing t, 
which blocks the spelling, that Dante says, line 75: ntenle 
affiguro. The allusion to the missing t is made by Virgil, line 
761 non ti rendo. And as the t is not forthcoming, Dante, who 
is having great difficulty in seeing, cannot see the bolgta, the 
hole or hiatus in the spelling, until he descends to where the 
bridge joins the bank. The bridge joining the bank makes, 
naturally, the shape of a t; and it is then, with the t thus 
supplied, that, as Dante says, miju la bolgia mamjesta, and 
the spelling is completed: 10 dante. 

I take this acrostic to be on the five terane spelling 10 
DANTE, instead of on the four spelling simply dante, for the 
reason that the hint of its presence is given in the line b^Jn- 
ning with /o, line 70. Dante says here that lo era volto in gtH. 
These words are the hint that his name is written down the 
margin. 

The T is agjun not given for the cryptic spelling of Dante's 
name in Hell for the reason, as already explained, that t, 
as a cross shape, is the symbol of Christ. 

There is a dante signature in Paradiso in which the t is 
missing, and the reason that it is missing in the spelling in 
Paradiso confirms the reason for its being missing in the 
spellings in Inferno. The passage with the signature to which 
I refer is found in Par. xviii. 37-48 : 

lo vidi per la croce un lume tratto 37 

Dal nomar Josu^, com' ei si feo, 
N& mi fu noto il dir prima che il fatto. 

Ed al nome dell' alto Maccabeo 40 

Vidi moversi un altro roteando, 
E letizia era feiza del paleo. 

Cos! per Carlo magno e per Orlando 43 

Due ne se^l lo mio attento sguardo. 
Com' occhio Eeeue suo Falcon volando. 

Poscia trasse Gu^ielmo, e Rinoardo, 46 

E il duca Gottifredi la mia vista 
Per quella croce, e Roberto Guitcardo. 

Consider the following marginal letters on the first lines of 
these four terane: 



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SIGNATURES 



46 P 
Read: copio. ED 

Ed, as I shall show in Chapter V, is in itself a Dante 
signature. Notice that ed, as a signature, is immediately 
followed in the text by al name. The whole passage is a play 
on the idea of name. In line 38 is the word «o«iar, and in the 
terzina immediately preceding, 34-36, is the phrase: to or 
rtomerd. 

The acrostic; copio. ed, may be understood to mean that 
Dante "copies" the cross, which is mentioned in the passage, 
in the sense that he shows the cross, or the divine nature, in 
his human nature. He illustrates this idea by the crypto- 
graphic device of showing the cross in the spelling of^ his 
name. Consider the following marginal letters of the terzina 
37-39: 



lo equals ten, which in the Roman notation is x; and x, 
as a sign of the cross, is equivalent to the other sign of 
the cross, t. Replace, therefore, 10 by t and read: DAhfTE. 

Another signature with a concealed t appears on the first 
lines of the four terzine, Purg. vi. 40-51 : 

£ R dov* io fermai cotesto punto, 40 

Non si ammendava per pregar difetto, 
Perch^ il prego da Dio era aisgiunto. 

Veramente a cosi alto sospetto 43 

Non ti fermari se quella nol ti dice, 
Che lume fia tra il vero e I' intelletto. 

Non so se intendi; io dice di Beatrice: 46 

Tu la vedrai di sopra, in sulla vetta 
Di questo monte, ridere e felice.' 



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82 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Ed io: 'Signore, andizmo a maggior fretta; 49 
Ch& gil. non m' affatico come dianzi; 
E vedi omai che il poggio I' ombra getta.' 

Consider on the first lines of these terane the following 
marginal letters: 

40 E LA 

43 V 

46 NO 

49 ED 

Read: velo dane 

Notice that line 49 begins with the words: ed io, which, 
as I shall show in Chapter V, are a cryptographic signature. 
If a T could be supplied, the acrostic reading; velo dane 
would become velo dante. The missing t is twice referred 
to in line 44: 

Non ti fermar, se quella nol ti dice. 
The reason that the t is mis^ng from the signature appears 
from the sense of the text, which concerns a difetlo, line 4I. 
The acrostic illustrates this difetto by being itself defective. 
But Dante does not leave the defective signature in doubt, 
for on all the lines of the terzina preceding his symbol ed id, 
line 49, along with this line, he gives the following letters: 

46 NON so 

47 TU LA VE 

48 Di q 

49 E 

Read: vel. sono qui. dante 

An example of an acrostic in which the t for dante 
appears to be indicated by the letters 10, considered as a 
ten, an X, a cross, and so as a t, appears in Par. viii. 35-39: 

D' un giro, e d' un girare, e d' una sete, 
Ai quali tu del mondo gi4 dicesti: 
Voi che iniendendo il terzo del movete; 37 

E sem si pien d' amor che, per piacerti, 
Non lia men dolce un poco dj quicte.' 



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SIGNATURES 83 

Consider the following marginal letters on these five lines: 

35 o 

36 Ai 

37 vol 

38 E 

39 N 

Notice that all the letters except the t of dante appear as 
initials, and that the only line, 37, on which a tetter of the 
name does not appear is composed of a quotation from one 
of his canxoni. The suggestion is forced that the letters se- 
lected above contain a signature. By substituting agiun a 
T for the 01 (reversed, 10, or ten) of line 37, read; dante vi. 

Following are five terzine, Purg. xxii. 94-108 : 

Tu dunque, che levato hai II coperchio 94 

Che m' ascondeva quanto bene io dico, 
Mentre che del salire avem 5operchio, 

Dtmtni dov' ^ Terenzio nostro antico, 97 

Cecilio, Plauto e Varro, se lo sai: 
Dimmi se son dannad, ed in qual vico.' 

'Costoro, e Persio, ed io, ed altn assai,' lOO 

Rispose il Duca mio, 'siam con quel Greco 
Che le Muse lattar piil ch' altro mai, 

Nel primo cinghio del carcere cieco. 103 

Spesse fiate ragioniam del monte 
Che sempre ha le nutrici nostre seco. 

Euripide v i nosco, ed Andfonte, 106 

Simonide, Agatone ed altn piiie 
Greci che giC di lauro ornar la fronte. 

The initials of the first lines of these five terzine are: 



Read: dcnte 

I regard this as a concealed signature. C, initial of line ioo> 
equals 100, which,by disregarding the ciphers^ equals i, which 



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84 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

equals a, its cabalistic equivalent as the first letter of the 
alphabet. By substituting a for c we read dante. Note, 
as a hint of the concealed signature, the possible double 
sense of the first two lines of the passage. 

The temna following the foregoing passage, Purg. xm. 
109-1 II, reads: 

Quivi Bi v^ion delle genti tue 

Antigone, Deifile ed Argia, 

Ed Ismene ej trista come fue. 

Gjn^der the following marginal letters of these three lines: 

109 QUIVl 
no AKT 



Read: (^uivi dante 

A signature in which the D is concealed appears in Purg. 
XXV. 10-2I: 

E quale il cico^in che leva 1* ala 10 

Per voglia di volare, e non s* attenta 

D' abbandonar lo nido, e giil la cala; 
Tal era io con voglia access e spenta 13 

Di domandar, venendo infiao all' atto 

Che fa colui ch' a dicer s' argomenta. 
Non lascift, per 1' andar che fosse ratto, 16 

Lo dolce Padre mio, ma disse: 'Scocca 

L* arco del dir che infino al ferro hai tratto.' 
Allor sicuramente aprii la bocca, 19 

E comindai: 'Come si )>u6 far magro 

L4 dove r uopo di nutrir non tocca?' 

The initials of the first lines of the four terzine are: 



13 T 

16 N 

19 A 

Read: ANTE 

This approximation to dante suggests that the missing d 



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SIGNATURES 85 

is indicated in a double meaning of uopo di, line 21, and 
consumar dy line 23. 

Another indication that a d is to be supplied appears in 
an acrostic on lines 13-15, the first words of which are, 
significantly: Talera to. Consider on these lines the following 
mai^nal letters: 



15 c 

Read: taci d 

But what was Dante's reason for omitting the D from his 
name ? The reason is given in lines 20-27. Dante asks Virgil 
how the spirits of the gluttonous can appear emaciated when, 
as spirits, they can have no need of nourishment; and Vii^l, 
who explains by analogy, asks Dante to remember 
come MeleagTO 
Si consume al consumar d'un stizzo. 
Virgil is here referring to the story of the prophecy made to 
the mother of Meleager at the time of his birth. According 
to this prophecy, Meleager was to live as long as a log then 
burning on the hearth remained unconsumed. In order to 
preserve the life of her son, the mother seized the log from 
the hearth, extinguished it, and preserved it. But when 
Meleager grew to manhood, he excited her anger; in revenge 
she threw the log, which represented his life, in the fire; and 
as the log was consumed Meleager was consumed. 

The signature ante, of which the d has been consumed, is 
obviously given by Dante as a cryptographic analc^ to the 
story of Mele^er. Dante lives as long as his name lives. 
And he is destroyed with the destruction of his name. 

The myth of Mele^er has a deeper meaning which is 
consonant with the deeper meaning of the Dhina Commedia. 
The log is phallic; the fire is the symbol of sexual union; and 
the act of the mother in withdrawing the log from the fire at 
the moment of birth symbolizes the severing at birth of the 
union of the child with its mother. The act of the mother in 
putting the log back into the fire symbolizes the reunion of 



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86 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

the mother and child in an incestuous act which is the cause 
at once of the death and the rebirth of the child. 

The following passage, Inf. xxiii. 67-78, consists of four 
temne: 

O in etemo faticoso mantol 67 

Noi ci volgemmo ancor pure a man manca 

Con loro insieme, intenti al tristo pianto: 
Ma per lo peso quella (^ente stanca 70 

Venia si pian, che not eravam nuovt 

Di compaenia ad ogni mover d' anca. 
Perch' io a! Duca mio: 'Fa che tu trovi 73 

Alcun ch' al fatto o al nome si conosca, 

E gli occhi s) andando intorno movi.' 
Ed un che intese la parola Tosca 76 

Diretro a noi grid6: 'Tenete i piedi* 

Voi che correte si per 1' aura fosca: 

Consider the following marginal letters on the first lines of 
the four ter^ne: 
67 o 
70 MA 
73 ' 

76 E 

Read: poema 

Consider the following marginal letters on these lines and 
the intervening lines: 

67 o 

68 NOI c 

69 c 

70 UA 



75 B 

76 E 

Read: poeua. ecco vi dane 



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SIGNATURES 87 

If a T were supplied, Dante's name would be complete. 
1 1 is to be found in the/aiicoso manto, of line 67, for the weary 
mantle to be borne eternally is, for Dante, his poem, and it is 
also the cross, and the cross Is a t. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the lines of the 
last teizina: 

76 E 

77 DI 

78 V 

Read: vedi 



INTERIOR SEQUENCES 

In addition to the various devices which we have examined 
in the preceding signatures is another well known device of 
cryptography that is frequently used in the Dtvina Commedia. 
The device to which I refer consists in arranging the letters of 
the cryptogram, not on the margin as in acrostics, but in the 
body or the text, in such a way that they follow a straight line 
that is either perpendicular or oblique to the regular lines 
of the text. This device is the so called interior sequence. 

An example of such an interior sequence appears in a 
passage which seems to give indications of a description 
of the very device in question. I refer to the first four 
terzine of Par. x: 

Guardando nel suo figlio con 1' amore 

Che t' uno e 1' altro etemalmente spira, 

Lo primo ed inefFabile valore, 
Quanto per mente o per loco si gira 4 

Con tanto ordine fe , ch' esser non puote 

Senza gustar di lui chi ci6 rimira. 
Leva dunque, lettor, all' alte rote 7 

Meco la vista drino a quella parte 

Dove r un moto e 1' altro si percote; 
E U comincia a vagheggiar nell arte 10 

Di quel maestro, che dentro a sfe I' ama 

Tanto che ma! da lei I' occhio non parte. 



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88 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

The complete acrostic reading on this passage will be 
shown in Chapter IX, pp. 407-8. For the present note the 
following marginal letters of the last tenuna: 



12 TAN 

Read: dante 

Now look at the letters which I have capitalized in the 
first five lines of this passage, as follows: 

1 guardando nel suo figlio con I'amorE 

2 Che I'uno e I'altro eternalmeNTe splra 

3 lo primo ed ineffabile vAlore 

4 quanto per menTE Per loco si gira 

5 con tanto orDlne fe ch'esser non puote 

The letters which I have capitalized make the following 
figure: 



The letters capitalized in line 4: te o p, spell backwards: 

POET. 

A straight line drawn from the capitalized D of ordine, 
line 5, to the capitalized e of amore, line i , passes through the 
capitalized a of valore, line 3, and the capitalized nt of 
etemaltnente, line 1. The capitalized letters on this line spell, 
therefore, dante; and the same line passes through the letter 
group: te op, on line 4. Thus the complete reading of the 
interior sequence may be considered to be: dante, poet. 

Notice that the spacing between the letters of the signature 
is almost mathematically regular. In the sixth space beyond 
the D, on the line above the d, is the space between the o 
and the p of the sequence: te o p; in the sixth space beyond 
this space, on the line above, is the a; in the sixth space 



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SIGNATURES 89 

beyond the a, on the line above, is the t of nt; and in the sixth 
space beyond the n of nt, on the line above, is the e. 

Let me first give the method by which I arrive at this 
sequence and then the confirmatory indications in the text 
for so doing. 

First, then, for the method. T^e passage is printed with a 
perfectly even margin, so that the first letter of every line is 
directly above or below the first letter of the line that follows 
or precedes it. It is a necessary consequence, therefore, that 
if a line be considered as a series of equal positions every one 
of which is occupied either by a letter or a space between 
words, all the relative positions of the lines will be directly 
above or below each other, exactly as in the case of the 
positions of the first letters. 

This is not the form in which the text of the Dhina 
Commedia is usually presented; in all the editions with which 
I am acquainted, the second and third lines of each terzina 
are indented, with the effect of emphasizing the terzine as 
separate units by the salience of their first lines. Whatever 
the authority for thus indenting the second and third lines 
of each terdna and whatever advantage there may be in 
typographically marking the terzina as a unit, the uneven 
mai^n is a form that cannot be presupposed to have been 
used by Dante, especially if there is any reason to believe 
that he used his text as a bed for interior sequences. Indeed, 
in such a case, it is practically certain that he must have 
made, or at least have calculated, his margin even. 

The discovery of the interior sequences in the Divina 
Commedia is dependent on the presumption that every letter 
in every line has a calculable position in relation to every 
other letter. An author may insert, indeed, an interior 
sequence into a text in which the positions of the letters have 
not been calculated, but he can never expect the sequence to 
be discovered by the reader, if the relative positions of the 
letters in his original copy are altered. Any alteration, in fact, 
would completely distort the sequence beyond the possibility 
of recognition. In the case of the use of a manuscript copy, 
such as Dante was obliged to use in presenting his poem to 



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90 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

the public, the chances for the alteration of the relative 
positions were infinite; the chances for preserving them were 
nil. His only means for preserving them, therefore, would 
have been to make it possible to calculate the relative posi- 
tions of the letters of his original copy from the very form of 
the poem itself. And his only means of making this calculation 
possible would have been to consider every line as an ordinal 
series of equal positions directly above or below the relative 
positions in all the other lines. Such an ordinal series of equal 
positions, occupied respectively by the letters of the text or 
the spaces between the words of the text, never appears on 
the ordinary printed p^e, where the various letters, such as 
I and M for instance, occupy spaces of different size; it can 
occur, however, in script produced by a typewriter, where 
every letter occupies an equal space. I have accordingly, in 
order to show the interior sequences in the Divina Commedia, 
had the passages in which they occur printed in typewriter 
style. 

My argument for supposing that Dante intended his text 
to be so arranged is based primarily, of course, on the hypo- 
thesis that he used his text as a bed for interior sequences. 
This original hypothesis has in its favor, first, the fact that 
if he used cryptographic devices at all he may well be 
supposed to have used the well known and common device 
of the interior sequence; and further in favor of this hypo- 
thesis are the implications of certain curious expressions in 
the very passage, and in the lines immediately following it, 
in which I have just shown the interior sequence spelling 
DAKTE, POET. Let me refer first to the possible duplicity in the 
meaning of the command to "lift then thy sight, Reader, 
with me to the lofty wheels, straight to that r^on where the 
one motion strikes on the other." May there not be a hint 
here to look up at the "wheels" of the lines above, where 
"the one motion" of the first line "strikes on the other" 
motion of the second line ? It is to this point, in the word 
Amore, the last word of the first line, that the reader may 
accordingly be considered to be directed to lift up his eyes for 
the banning of the interior sequence just shown. And may 



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SIGNATURES 91 

not the reference to the art of the master "who within him- 
self so loves it " suggest the art of hiding a spelling inside the 
text? And may not the "master" be Dante, since dante 
appears in an acrostic on the terzina in which the "master" 
is mentioned ? And considering the oblique line made by the 
interior sequence here discovered, may we not see an allusion 
to it in the words: "See how the oblique circle which bears 
the planets branches off?" And may there not be a similar 
hidden meaning in the allusion to the departure of this line 
as "more or less distant from the straight line?" The whole 
passage, read with suspicion alert to the duplicities of expres- 
sion so common in the Divina Commedia, points to a crypto- 
graphic device like the interior sequence here discovered. In 
view of these possible hints of the existence of interior 
sequences I have arranged the text in the manner shown 
above; for this manner of arranging the text, assuming that 
the text contains interior sequences, may fairly be assumed 
to have been considered by Dante himself as the only means 
by which the interior sequences could be reconstructed from 
the text itself in the absence of the original copy. 

It may very well be, however, that in spite of the pre- 
sumptive evidence in its favor, the interior sequence which I 
have shown may fail in itself to convince the reader that it is 
anything else than an accident. Nor am I able to afHrm, as a 
fact, that it is not an accident. The strongest evidence in its 
favor will be the cumulative evidence of other interior 
sequences in positions where the sense of the text corresponds 
to the sense of the interior sequence. 

There is another possible objection to the "intention" of 
this interior sequence. It is the fact that the spacing of the 
letters of the sequence is not quite regular. I will show in- 
stances of interior sequences where the regularity of the 
spacing is absolute, and this regularity is additional proof, of 
course, of the intention of the sequence. But a sequence 
remains a sequence in spite of spacing that is not quite 
mathematically strict^ especially when it can be confirm^ by 
the sense of the text. A sequence that is not mathematically 
r^ular in its spacing may still, as in the present instance, 



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92 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

strike the eye as regular, and it is the eye that judges. Indeed, 
the mathematical r^ularity cannot be seen without careful 
counting, and it must be remembered that whatever the 
ingenuity of the author, the difficulties of constructing an 
absolutely strict sequence may be at times so great as to 
warrant his use of a sequence that satisfies the eye.* 

There is a group of interior sequences spelling dante in 
Par. XV. 94-1 1 1, a passage to which I have referred in 
Chapter I as showing a curious symmetrical arrangement of 
four ter^ne each beginning with the same word: Non. The 
passage reads as follows: 

Mio figlio fu, e tuo bisavo fue: 94 

Ben si convien che la lunga fatJca 

Tu gli raccorct con 1' opere tue. 
Fiorenza dentro dalla cerchia antica 97 

Ond' ella toglie ancora e terza e nona, 

Si stava in pace, sobria e pudica. 
Non avea catenella, non corona, 100 

Non donne contigiate, non cintura 

Che fosse a veder piil che la persona. 
Non faceva nascendo ancor paura 103 

La fislia al padre, ch% 11 tempo e la dote 

Nonfuggian quinci e ({uindi la misura. 
Non avea case oi ramtglta voce; 106 

Non v* era giunto ancor Sardanapalo 

A mostrar cib che in camera si puote. 
Non era vinto ancora Montemalo 109 

Dal vostro Uccellatoio, che, com' k vinto 

Nel montar su, cosl szik nel calo. 

Before examining the interior sequences let us read the 
acrostic in this passage. Consider the following marginal 
letters on the first lines of the six terzine: 

94 MI 103 NO 

97 FIORENZA DE Io6 NO 

100 NO 109 HO 

Read: nomi, fiorenza, d. . . e. no, no, no 

*Ia the device id George H 
not regularly spaced, either t 

lettere and letter spacea. Poe'i vrell-lcnown "Valentine" 
Oigood £• mathematically regular. 



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SIGNATURES 93 

Cacdaguida, the ancestor of Dante, is speaking of the past 
of Florence, Dante's birthplace, the mother that denied nim 
by sending him into exile. The acrostic: nomi, fiorenza, 
D. . . E, is met, therefore, characteristically, by the rdteration 
of her denial: no, no, no. Dante b thrice denied, as Christ 
was thrice denied. This is another of the numerous instances 
of Dante's identification of himself with Christ. 

Florence refuses to name Dante, and the refusal seems to 
be expressed by the following cryptographic device. Grouped 
about the last no, line 109, are the following marginal letters: 

108 A 

109 NOH E 
no DAL 

III HEL MONTA 

Read: ella non noma dante 

Now in connection with these two acrostic readings: nomi, 
fiorenza, d. . . e. no, no, no, and ella non noma dante, 
see how Dante is named in the passage in interior sequences, 
notwithstanding the refusal of Florence to name him: 

99 si stava in pAce sobria E pudioa 

100 non avea cateHella noN corona 

101 Don donne conTigiATe non cintura 

102 Che fosse a vEDer piu che la persona 

Read the capitals on the vertical line from a of ptue, 99; 
N of caienella, looj first t of contigiate, loi ; ed of veder, J02: 

DANTE. 

Read from e, after sobria, 99; second n on non, lOO; at of 
eontipaie, loi; d of veder, 102: dante., 

These two interior sequences, shown respectively in the 
capital letters on a vertical and an oblique line, are absolutely 
regular. In the vertical sequence the letters a, n, t, and e are 
each in the fourteenth space of their respective lines and the 
D is immediately adjacent to the e. In the oblique sequence 
there are exactly two spaces between the d and the at, 
between the at and the n, and between the n and the e. 
Moreover, the fact that both signatures meet on the same d 



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94 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

adds still more to the probability that they are intentional, 
as does likewise their meeting on the d of ed, in itself a 
signature. There is a hint in the text to look for the agnaturc 
in the words: veder piu che la persona^ and this hint itself 
coincides with the converging point of the two signatures. 
In lines 105-108, there is an interior sequence reading 
DANTEj thus: 

105 non fuggiaNqulnci e qulndi la nisura 

106 non avea case di fAmilla vote 

107 non v'era giunto ancor sarDanapalo 

108 a mostrar cio ohe In camera si pucTE 

Read from n oifugpan, 105; first a of famtglia, 106; d of 
sardanapaio, 107; te ofpuoie, 108: dante. 

This sequence is spaced with mathematical precision. 
There are seven spaces between the n of fuggian and the a of 
famtglia, seven spaces between this a and the d of sardana- 
palo, and seven spaces between this d and the te of puote. 
TTiere is a hint in the text in the words: 

A mostrar ci& che in camera si puote. 

The nest of three interior sequences spelling Dante in this 
passage, confirmed by hints in the text and the acrostic 
readings: nomi, fiorekza, d. . . e. no, no, no, and ella hon 
NOMA DANTE, can scarcely be rejected as accidental. 

Fotlowtng is another interior sequence which resembles 
the first one I showed in that it appears on the first five lines 
of a canto, namely, Inf. xiii. 1-5: 

1 non era ancor dl la nesso arrlvAto 

2 quando noi cl mettenmo pEr un bosco 

3 che da nessun senTiero era segnato 

4 non fronDe verdi ma di color fosco 

5 Non reuDi schletti ma nodosi e involti 

Read from the second a of arrivato, i; e of per, i\ t of 
sentiero, 3; d of Jronde, 4; initial n of non, 5: dante. 

In the passage to which 1 have already referred as con- 
taining the acrostic vom there are two interior sequences in 
the first five lines, Purg. xii. 25-29: 



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SIGNATURES 95 

25 veDE colui ohe fu Nobll oreato 

26 piu oh'Altra oreaturA glu DAI oielo 

27 folgoreggiaNdo scender DA un lato 

28 vedea brlareo fiTto DAI TElo 

29 celestial glacer DAll'altra parte 

Read: de of oede, isidrst a of altray 26; n of /olgoreggidndot 

27; first Tof^tfO, 28: DANTE. 

Read k of noM, 25; second a of creatura, 26; d of da^ 27; 

TE of telo, 28: DANTE. 

Notice the curious sequence, da, 26, da, 27, da, 28, da, 29. 
DA are Dante's initials and are apparently used by Dante as a 
signature. 

The foregoing examples are sufficient to establish Dante's 
use of the interior sequence in the Divina Commedia. The 
other interior sequences which I have discovered I will show 
later, as esfiecially pertinent to certain aspects of Dante's 
symbolism. 

NON-ITALIAN PHRASES 

In the Divina Commedia are many Latin phrases, one pass- 
age in Provental, and two passages of "gibberish." It is my 
opinion that Dante was partly determined in his use of 
these passages by the cryptographic possibilities which they 
presented. I will show, at any rate, that many of these 
non-Italian phrases can be regarded as yielding acrostic or 
telestic or anagrammatic readings referring to Dante or to 
the symbolism of the poem. The dewcc by which the 
acrostics or telestics are read on phrases is the same device 
by which the famous acrostic 'IXSTS is derived from the 
phrase: 'Ivatm Xfiiarii Btou TUt Sur^p. 

It u impossible, indeed, to prove that the cryptograms 
which I shall show on the non-Italian passages were intended 
by Dante. But some evidence of intention appears from 
the very possibility of finding in a large number of them 
acrostics, telestics, and anagrams appropriate to the mean- 
ing of the poem. I believe that in many of these non-Italian 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



96 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

phrases Dante was conscious of the possibility of converting 
them, by cryptographic devices, into references to himself. 
The "delusion of reference" which this cryptographic use of 
innocent phrases indicates is consistent both with the form 
of the poem as a dream and with Dante's highly rationalized 
egocentricity. I will give here several examples which 
contain Dante's signature. Most of the other examples will 
be found in Chapter IX. A few will be found in other chap- 
ters, to which their cryptc^raphic meaning is especially per- 
tinent. 

In Purg. ii. 46, is the Latin phrase: In exitu Israel de 
Mgypto. These words contain a signature. The x of 
exitu is to be taken as the equivalent of a t, since x and t, as 
has already been noted, are both signs of the cross. Con- 
uder the following initial and contiguous letters: 



AEOYPTO AEO 

Read: gira. sei dante 

The GIRA of this reading is a direction to revolve or re- 
arrange tlu letters. The use of gira recalls the use of the word 
"revolve" in Twelfth Night, ii, 5. 

That the signature in In exitu Israel de Mgypto was in- 
tended by Dante is indicated by the acrostic on the six lines 
ending with the line composed of the Latin words in ques- 



46 Iff 

Read: taci dante (or cita dante) 

Notice, moreover, that the terana preceding the line in 
Latin contains a signature. The terzina reads: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SIGNATURES 97 

Da poppa atava il celestial nocchiero, 
Tal che parea beato per iscripto; 
E pii di cento spirti entro sediero. 

Consider the initial and contiguotis letters on the first 
and loit words of each line: 



45 E s» 

Read: SEI DANTE 

This method of signing appears to be hinted at in the allu- 
sion, line 43, to the nocchiero who stood da poppa. This 
allusion to the poppa may be understood as a hint of what is 
standit^ at the poppa of the line. In the signature in di 
NECESSITA, Purg. XXX. 63 (see p. 55), there is a similar use 
oi poppa with pTora as a hint to look at the end as well as 
at the banning of the words. 

The signature on this terzina: sei dante, is identical, 
with the exception of the word cira, with the signature found 
on the Latin phrase which immediately follows: oira. 

SEI DANTE. 

In Purg. viii. 13, is the Latin phrase : Te lucts ante. These 
words are part of the first line of a hymn sung at Compline, 
the last service of the day. Tutlo P inno intero, as is in- 
dicated in line 17, was sung in the hearing of Dante. Why, 
then, does he refer to the hymn by just the three words: 
TV lucis ante? The answer is to be found in the crypto- 
graphic signature which these three words make possible. 
Consider in these words the following initial and contiguous 
letters: 



Read: tu ceu ante 

There is, of course, a suggestion of dante in the sound of 
ante, and it is on this sound suggestion that Dante is here 
playing. If a D could be supplied, his name would be spelled 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



98 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

in full, and the cryptogram would read: tu ceu dante. 
Now as a matter of double entente, Dante is to be understood 
as saying himself that he heard his own name in the words: 
Te lucis ante; this double meaning appears in the way he 
says chat the Latin phrase was uttered: 

con A dold note, 
Che fece me a me uscir. 

These words, taken as they are from their context, are capa- 
ble of meaning that the Latin phrase was uttered "with such 
sweet notes that it made me (my name) come out to me." 
In addition to this su^estion that a d is to be supplied, there 
is another suggestion to supply the d in the three d's in the 
line preceding the Te lucis ante: 

Come dicesse a Dio; 'D'altro non calme.' 

Moreover, the D altro is capable of su^esting an other D. 
Another suggestion that a d is to come out of the context 
for the signature in Te lucis ante may be found in the words 
uscir di, line 15. Another suggestion that a d somewhere in 
the text is to be sounded with Te lucis ante may be taken 
from the words, removed from their context: squilla di 
lontano. These words may be understood as meaning that "a 
distant D sounds." 

For the acrostic which appears on the passi^ in which 
this Latin phrase is quoted see page 418. The acrostic 
reads: dante e qui l'eguale. This acrostic may refer, in 
part, to the Latin words, to which Dante, in a cryptographic 
sense, is the equal. The Latin phrase is followed^ lines 19-21, 
with a reference to the oelo; the 6elo may be the cryptogram 
which we have just deciphered. The reference to the velo 
is as follows: 

Aeuzza qui, Lettor, ben gli occhi at vero, 
Cn6 il veto h ora ben tanto sottile, 
Certo, che il trapassar dentro h leggiero. 

In Purg. xxvii. 8, is the Latin phrase Beati mundo corde. 
Consider in these words the following final and contiguous 
letters: 



DiBtizedOvGoOt^k 



SIGNATURES 99 

BEA-n ATI 

UVSDO NDO 
COKDE £ 

Read: 10 dante 

The first line of Inf. xxxiv. is in Latin: 

Veidlla regis prodeunt inferni. 

These words are a parody of a hymn in honor of Christ. 
The sense is reversed to apply to Lucifer. This reversing of 
the sense is paralleled by the cryptc^aphic device of taking 
the letters from the end of the words instead of from the 
beginning. Consider the following telestic letters of the 
Latin words — the u of prodeunt being the equivalent of a v: 

VEXILLA A 

REGIS OlS 

PRODEUNT ODEUNT 

INrERNI HI 

Read: vi signo: dante 



GROUPS OF PROPER NAMES 

Analogous to the cryptograms constructed on the words 
of a phrase or a sentence is a form of cryptogram constructed 
on the proper names of a passage. Of this form I have found 
several examples in the Divina Commedia, and it is possible 
that there are more than 1 have found. Dante's choice of 
the proper names which he groups together seems to have 
been determined by his cryptographic purpose as well as 
by historical and poetical association. In some cases the 
association is not self-evident and has puzzled the commen- 
tators. It may be that the cryptograms which I have found 
explain the reason for his selection, namely, the need of cer- 
tain letters for the cryptographic reading. I will give here 
a single specimen of this type of cryptogram; I will reserve 
others for the chapters to which the cryptographic meaning 
is especially pertinent and the rest for Chapter IX. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



100 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

There are several groups of persons with whom Dante 
identifies himself by the device of signing his name on the 
first letters of their names. The first group is the group of 
souls that accompanied Christ in his ascent from Hell to 
Heaven. This group is mentioned by Virgil in Inf. iv. 46-69, 
in response to a question from Dante: 

'Dimmi, Maestro mio, dimmi, Signore,' 46 

Comtncia' io, per voler esser certo 

Di quella fedc che vince (^ni errore: 
*Uscicci mai alcuno, o per suo merto, 49 

O per aitnii, che poi fosse beat©?' 

E quel, che intese il mio pariar coperto, 
Rispose: 'Io era nuovo in questo stato, 52 

Quando ci vidi venire un possente 

Con segno di vittoria coronato. 
Trasseci P ombra del primo parente, ' 55 

D' Abel suo figlio, e quella di No^, 

Di Moisd l^sta e uboidiente; 
Abraam patriarca, e David re, 58 

Israel con Io padre, e co' suoi nati, 

E con Rachefe, per cui tanto fe', 
Ed altri molti; e lecegli beati: 61 

E vo' che sappi che, dinanzi ad essi. 

Spirit! umani non eran salvati.' 
Non lasciavam 1' andar perch' et diccssi, 64 

Ma passavam la selva tuttavia. 

La selva dico di spirit! spessi. 
Non era lunga ancor la nostra via 67 

Di qua du sonno, quand' io vidi un foco 

Ch' emisperio di tenebre vincia. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first Hues 
of the teizine: 



53 u 64 N 

^$ T 67 MON 

Read: non riusci dahte? 

The acrostic expresses the real meaning of Dante's pariar 
CQperto, the question: Uscicci mat alcuno f 

DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SIGNATURES loi 

Notice also the dante on the first lines of the four terdne, 
55-66: T, A, ED, N. 

Now consider the initials of the names actually mentioned, 
lines 5&~6o, of the spirits delivered from Hell by Christ im- 
mediately after the crucifixion. In the ref^nce to Christ 
as un possente, the cross is indicated as the segno di vittoria 
with which he was crowned. The names, appearing in the 
text, of the delivered spirits are: 



MOISE M 

ABRAAU A 

DAVID D 

ISRAEL I 

RACHELE R 

The initials of these names may be taken to read: mira 
DAN. By adding to these letters the t of the cross, the sign 
of Christ, the reading is: mira daht. 

Dante thus identifies himself with the souls of the saved, 
and so answers in the affirmative the question expressed in 
the acrostic: son riusci dante? 



LOST AND FOUND 

The cryptographic signatures of Dante shown in the pre- 
ceding pages are widely scattered through the Divina 
Commedia. I will conclude this chapter by showing signatures 
at the beginning and at the end of the poem. They are 
important because of thur position, thur structure, and 
their relation to each other; and also because they illustrate 
the philosophic raison d'Ure of the cryptograpluc signatures 
in general. 

The importance of the signatures at the beginning and the 
end of the Dtvina Commedia consists in part in the fact that 
it b in these positions that Dante, in accordance with the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



iM THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

general cryptographic custom of signing a work at its begin- 
ning or end, is most surely to be expected to have signed 
his poem. The presence of the signatures in these positions is 
in itself, therefore, a strong confirmation that they are in- 
tentional. But of still greater importance is the light which 
these signatures throw on Dante's use of cryptography as a 
symbol of his theme. 

Expressed in its simplest terms, the theme of the Divina 
Commedia is a quest. In the beginning of the poem Dante is 
lost; he has lost himself in being lost to God. He begins at 
once, accordingly, the quest to find himself, and it is on this 
quest that he traverses the universe, which, though he is lost 
in it, is still himself, his own human condition of evil and 
good. But at last, having climbed to Paradise, he finds God; 
and it is in finding God that his quest is ended, for in finding 
God it is himself that he finds. Dante and God, son and 
father, human and divine, are found tc^ether as one and 
inseparable. 

Now the theme of the Dioina Commedia, as thus expressed, 
is symbolized by the use which Dante makes of his crypto- 
graphic signatures. When, for instance, in the beginning of 
the poem, Dante is lost, he symbolizes his lost estate by 
losing (or hiding) his name in the text by means of various 
cryptographic devices. Dante thus shows himself as lost in 
the universe just as his name, hidden by the cryptographic 
spellings, is lost in the text. 

And when Dante, in his quest to find himself, traverses the 
universe, which always, in all its diversities, is still himself in 
his dual nature as human and divine; when, in other words, 
he shows that it is in himself that he is lost when he is lost 
in the universe; he illustrates the identity of himself and the 
universe by the cryptt^aphic devices which spell his own 
name with the very letters with which the various aspects of 
the universe itself are described. 

And when at last Dante finds God and finds himself in 
God, he illustrates his meaning once more by the crypto- 
graphic devices which spell his name in the very words that 
describe his vision of God. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SIGNATURES 103 

Let us now turn to the cryptographic signatures them- 
selves which illustrate the theme of the Divina Commedia as 
a quest in which Dante is lost and found. The first that I will 
show appears on the marginal letters of the iirst lines of the 
first four terzine oi Inferno i, the very position in which we 
have already seen the acrostic kati: 



Now the acrostic nati refers to the human children of God 
who are born into the seha oscura of the life on earth; they 
are mankind in general, and they are represented in the poem 
by Dante, who describes himself as the typical human being 
whose experience is the common experience of all. In the 
sense that his experience as an individual is the common 
experience of mankind, Dante identifies himself with man- 
kind, and it may not be unexpected, therefore, that he ex- 
presses this identification of^ himself with mankind by 
cryptographic means. 

The cryptt^aphic means of expressing the identification 
of himself with mankind appears at once in the possibility of 
identifying to a certain extent the words nati and dante. 
These two words have three letters in common : n, a, t; and a 
cryptographic signature spelt with the very w, a, and t 
already used in the acrostic nati would seem to indicate that 
Dante himself was aware of the common letters possessed by 
the two words, and intended, in his coincident use of these 
letters for an acrostic nati and an acrostic dante, to express 
an identification not only of the words themselves but of 
what they represent. 

In order to show the acrostic dante that coincides with 
the letters h, a, and t of the acrostic kati, consider the 
following marginal letters on the same lines on which the 
NATI appears: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



10+ THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



to I son so BEN RID 

Read: i* kon so ben ir. dahte 

This acrostic not only gives a signature at the head of the 
poem but expresses in a single sentence the fundamental 
situation as described in the lines on which it appears. £m 
diritta via era smarrita, and Dante does not know now to go. 

I am inclined to believe that there is to be found on these 
same lines another acrostic dante that coincides even more 
closely with the nati. Observe that the last of the four 
terzine has an acrostic on its three lines: 



Read: taci 

In accordance with the sense of this taci, the reader is 
perhaps informed that he is keeping something silent or else 
commanded to keep something silent. Now observe that with 
the preceding line the acrostic letters may be considered: 



Read; taci d 

May not the reader consider that this acrostic either in- 
forms him that he is keeping D silent or else commands him 
to keep it silent? In either case, there is suggested a silent d, 
and if this silent d is added to the acrostic letters ke, a, t, i, 
the spelling is i', dante. 

Or if the TACI indicates that the whole hnal terzina on 
which it appears is to be kept silent, the last line of the frame 
would then become the ninth, the initial of which is o; and 
the acrostic would be read thus: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SIGNATURES 



7 T 
9 D 

Read: dante 

With whatever conjecture, and whether with or without 
the sentence: i' won so ben ir, an acrostic dante appears on 
the opening lines of Inferno i in such a way as to suggest a 
cryptographic identification of dante and nati, an identifi- 
cation which corresponds to the identification which Dante 
makes of himself, as a typical human being, with mankind in 
general. And this spelling of dante is lost in the text just as 
Dante himself is described in the text as lost in the seha 
oseuro. 

Compare this identification of dante and nati with the 
identification of dante and pante (p. 77). 

But Dante has not limited himself in this passage to the 
acrostic form of signature; the passage contains two interior 
sequences each spelling dante and keying together on the 
initial t of Tanto, line 7. The zigz^ course of these sig- 
natures through the text may well be imagined to il- 
lustrate the course of Dante himself after he had lost the 
dirilta via. 

The two interior sequences appear thus: 

3 che la diritta tIA era smarrita 

4 ahi quanto a Dir qual era e oosa dura 

5 questa sElva selvaggia ed aspra e forte 

6 che Nel pensler rlnnuova la paura 

7 Tanto e amara che poco e plu morte 

8 ma pEr trattar del ben ch'l'vi trovai 

9 diro dell'Altre cose ch'io v'ho scorte 

10 i'non so ben riDir com'io v'entrai 

11 tant'era plen di sonNo in su quel punto 

Read from a of via, y, o of dir, ^; e of selva, 5; n of »//, 6; 
first t of taniOy 7 : dante. 

Read from the same t of /dM/o, 7; e of per, 8; a of altre, 9; 
D of riJiry 10; second n of sonno, 1 1 : dante. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



io6 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Let us now turn from the beginning of Injemo, where 
Dante shows himself by cryptographic devices as identical 
with mankind and as lost, to the end of Poradiso. In the 
words with which he there describes his vision of God, Dante 
illustrates by cryptographic devices that he is identical with 
God and that in finding God he finds himself. 

The passage to be considered first is Par. xxxiii, lines 121- 
132; within this passage is hidden a most remarkable com- 

filex of cryptographic signatures. The passage, which fol- 
ows, describes what Dante saw in his vision of the luee 
eiema, the eternal light being, as consistently throughout 
the Divina Commedia, the symbol of God: 

O quanto ^ corto il dire, e come fioco 121 

Al mio concettol e questo a quel ch' io vidi 

£ tanto, che non basta a dicer poco. 
O luce etcma, che sola in te sidi, 124 

Sola t' intendi, e da te intelletta 

Ed intendente te, ami ed arridil 
Quella circulazion, che si concetta 127 

Pareva in tre come lume riflesso, 

Dagli occhi miei alquanto ctrconspetta, 
Dentro da s^ del suo colore stesso 130 

Mi parve pinta della nostra efEge, 

Per che il mio viso in lei tutto era messo. 

Let me call attention first, before proceeding to the crypto- 
grams, to the remarkable play on sounds suggesting the 
sound of DANTE in lines 125 and 126, and indeed throughout 
the entire passage. The letters of the name circulate through 
the text like motes in a sunbeam, now and then almost 
spelling the name complete. Indeed, in this circulation of the 
motes of DANTE in the sunbeam of the luce etema^ the name, 
i', DAKTTE, is actually spelled in the letter sequence, line 125, 
DA TE IN. The figure which I have used of motes circulating 
in a sunbeam, appropriate as it is in connection with the 
letters of dante circulating in the text describing the luce 
etertta, suggests that Dante himself may have had the figure 
in mind. And if such may have been the case, it may well be 
imagined that there is a double entente in the phrase, lines 
127-128: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SIGNATURES 



(uelU circulazion, che si concetta 
'areva in tre.* 



This phrase, as I take it, has in addition to its manifest 
meaning a meaning referring to the cryptograms contained 
in the text. The cryptic allusion that I see in the phrase may 
be developed in the following fashion: "That circulation of 
the letters, conceived thus as dante, appeared in three ways 
or signatures." And as a matter of fact, out of quella circula- 
zion of the letters three signatures do indeed appear. 

The first of the three signatures to which I refer is the letter 
sequence already referred to: da te in, in line 115, spelling 
1' DANTE. Though this is in itself not a particularly interesting 
signature, it assumes an extraordinary interest from the fact 
that it is one of three signatures which have in common the 
same letter d. The other two signatures are interior sequences 
which transect each other on this d and form a cross. Thus 
the first signature is a dante on a cross which is composed of 
two interior sequences, each spelling dant or dante. The 
sequences appear thus: 

123 e tanTo che non basta a dicer poco 

124 o luce eterNa che sola IN te sidi 

125 aola t'intendi E Da te intelletta 

126 ed IntendenTe te ami ed Arridl 

127 quellA circulazion che si concetta 

The figure of the cross with Dante upon it appears thus: 



123 . ...T 

124 N N 

125 E DA TE IN. 

126 T A. 

127 A 



For the first of these interior sequences, read from the 
second t of ianio, line 123, through the n of etcma, line 124, 
through the d of da, line 125, to the a of arridi, Hne 126. 

*I have adc^ted Toynbee's readii^ tre in place of te, ai in the text of 
Moore. Nothing coniiatent with the sease of the paange, to far a* I can *ee, 
can be iaid for te. Tre at an alliuion to the Trinity is espedall)' appropriate. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



io8 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

These letto^ spell dant. For dahte add the e adjacent to the 
D, line 125. 

For the second interior sequence, read from the a aiqueUa, 
lineiiy, through the second T of w/^«(/(f»/f, line 126, through 
the D of daj line 125, to the n of in, line 124. These letters 
spell DANT. For dante add the e adjacent to d, line 125, as in 
the other sequence. 

Notice that these two sequences are absolutely identical 
in their spacing, and that they form an absolutely sym- 
metrical cross. The first sequence starts with the letter t, 
on the sixth space of line 1 23 ; the second sequence starts with 
the letter a, on the sixth space of line 1 27. The second letter 
of the first sequence, n, falls on the twelfth space in line 124; 
the second letter of the second sequence, t, falls on the 
twelfth space of line 1 26. The third letter of both sequences, 
the D of line 1 25, on which the sequences transect, falls on the 
eighteenth space of the line. The fourth letter of the first 
sequence, A, falls on line 1 26 on the seventh space beyond the 
transection; the fourth letter of the second sequence, k, falls 
on line 1 24 on the seventh space beyond the transection. The 
two feet of the cross, which correspond to the letters with 
which I have described the sequences as beginning, are five 
lines apart; the two heads, which correspond to the letters 
with which I have described the sequences as ending, are 
three lines apart; and the transection of the cross is on the 
central line of the passage in which the cross appears. On this 
middle line, line 125, at the transection is the sequence 
spelling: i', dante; so that dante, like Christ, is on the cross, 
composed of his own name, or nature, as a dualism. 

What Dante finds, therefore, when he looks into the 
eternal light, is the thrtce repeated image of himself, corre- 
sponding to the triune God; and he sees himself on the cross, 
as Christ was on the cross. In finding God he finds himself 
in the image of God. 

Compare this cross with the cross formed by interior 
sequences in Par. xix. 124-129 (pp. 163-4). 

In addition to this remarkable cross composed of two 
Dante's with dante crucified upon it, there is an anagram in 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SIGNATURES 109 

the passage describing the vision of the eternal light. I was 
directed to this anagram by the suggested sound of Dante's 
name, just as I was directed to the cross by the su^ested 
sound of his name in the earlier lines of the passage. The 
suggested sound I regarded as a hint, just as I have proved 
the suggested sound to be a hint in treating of the crypto- 
graphic cross. 

Observe, then, as a hint of the presence of the anagram, the 
words with which Hnes 129 and 130 begin: 

129 DAGLI OCCHI MIEl 

130 DENTRO DA SE 

Observe that dagli su^ests vaguely the ancestral form of 
Alighieri, or Aldighiero, in the following letters: aldio; 
observe that dentro b^ns with four of the five letters of 
DANTE. The juxtaposition of these two words suggesting the 
sound of the first and last names of Dante gave me the idea, 
after the success of my experiment with the cryptographic 
cross, that Dante might have intended here an anagram. 
This idea was reinforced by the fact that the words at the 
b^nnings of lines 127-130 could be read consecutively to 
form the following acrostic sentence: 

QUELLA CIRCULAZION PAREVA DAGLI OCCHI MIEI DENTRO 
DA SE. 

This acrostic sentence corresponds in meaning exactly to 
what we have found was true of the circulazion as a eircu- 
lazion of letters spelling Dante's name. In other words, the 
circulazion, . . . si coneetta as the image of Dante, 
appeared, when Dante looked into the luce etema, like the 
image of his own eyes (or himself) which was reflected in it. 
It was as if Dante saw his own eyes reflected back from the 
luce etema in the form of the circulazion. So much for a partial 
justification of the acrostic sentence: quella circulazion 
PAREVA dagli OCCHI MIEI DENTRO DA SE. But this same 
sentence may also, with equal truth to the cryptographic 
character of the passage as we have already discovered it, 
be read as follows: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



no THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

QUELLA ciRCULAZioN PAREVA; "DagU occkt tntet 
dentro da si," 

In other words, the circulazion^ which we have discovered to 
be a circling of letters spelling Dante's own name, appeared 
also in the form: "daoli occhi miei dentro da se.' 

If, then, the acrostic sentence says that the circling of 
letters spelling Dante's name appeared also in the form: 
dagli occhi miei dentro da se, can the statement be 
justified? It may, indeed, for the words: dagli occhi miei 
dentro da se, are an anagram which may be read as follows: 

ECCOMI, DIS, DANTE ALDIGHIERO. 

In this anagram, accordingly, Dante utters his cry of 
^ctory and exultation as he finds himself at last in the very 
womb of the divine light which is God. Is he calling back to 
Dis, the emperor of Hell, that Dis should see him so high 
above? Or is he exulting over God himself, who, as it is said 
in the first chapter of Genesis, had feared, and with reason, 
that man would make himself equal with Him; is he calling 
to God to see him, Dante, as identical with Dis in his 
usurpation of divinity ? I am inclined to believe, in view of 
the general ambivalence of the symbolism of the Dioina 
Commedia, that both these meanings are expressed in this 
anagram at the close of the poem. 

lliis anagram is important, moreover, as determining the 
form in which Dante spelt his own name: Aldighiero. This 
indeed, was an early form of the name. 

There remains one other signature in the closing lines of 
the final canto of the poem that I wish to show here. In 
Chapter IX the reader may see two more. Dante says, lines 
137-138, that, as he looked into the eternal light which is 
God and saw the image of himself, 

Veder voleva, come si convenne 
L'imago al cerchio, e come vi s'indova. 

In the lines immediately succeeding, in telling how he lacked 
the power to fulfill this desire until, in a flash, the wish came, 
he signs his name in a final interior sequence: 



Di!,t;zedOyGoO<^lc 



SIGNATURES in 

139 «a non eran Da cio le proprle penne 

140 aa non ctie lA mla mente fu percossa 

141 da un fulgorE in che sua voglla venne 

142 all'alta faNTasla qui manco possa 

Read from d o(da, 139; a of /a, I40; e of fulgore, 141 ; nt of 
fantasia, I42: dakte. 

This sequence is absolutely vertical as to four letters, with 
the fifth adjacent. 

Thus in the moment of realizing his wish, the wish to 
understand his exact relation with God in whom he finds 
himself, it is his name (himseiO that comes as the fulfillment 
of his wish — his name which here signifies, in the symbolic 
use which Dante makes of cryptography throughout the 
Divina Commedia, that the relation of Dante to God is the 
relation of Dante to Dante, of self to self. 



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asyGoOl^lc 



Chapter IV 
DXV 



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DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc 



Chapter. IV 
DXV 



T^HE personage described by Beatrice, P«r^' xxxiii. 43, 
-^ as "a five hundred, ten, and five" has never been satis- 
factorily identified. He remains, in fact, after many guesses, 
the Iron Mask of the Dioina Commedia. I will show that he is 
Dante himself. 

The evidence that I shall here present that Dante himself 
is designated by the cryptic number is based on the crypto- 
grams contained in the passage in which the number is 
mentioned. The cryptograms are not, however, the only 
evidence that I have to offer; I had, indeed, not yet dis- 
covered them when I first came to the conclusion that the 
identification of Dante with the cryptic number was in- 
dicated by the symboHsm of the poem. 

The most commonly accepted method of interpreting the 
designation: "a five hundred, ten, and five," is to substitute 
for the three numbers mentioned the letters which represent 
these numbers in the Roman notation. Thus five hundred is 
D, ten is X, and five is v; and they read in the sequence given : 
DXV. If the V and the x are transposed, as in an anagram, the 
three letters spell dvx, or — since v and u are interchangeable 
forms — DUX, the Latin word for "leader." 

This interpretation, which is satisfactory as far as it goes, 
fails, however, to yield the name of the dvx; he remains, in 
fact, as anonymous as before. And in the opinion of certain 
commentators his anonymity is intentional. The reference to 
the DVX is prophetic; he is said to be coming, as a leader 
"sent by God," at some future date; and since Dante is not 
supposed to have had the gift of prophecy, the name of the 



[115 1 

.odByCoOl^lc 



ii6 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

leader cannot have been known to him, no matter how much 
he may have hoped for or believed in him. In the opinion, 
therefore, of those who hold that the dvx is intentionally- 
anonymous, Dante quite naturally alluded to the unknown 
leader by a generic term that would apply to whatever 
particular person he might turn out to be. 

More commonly held, however, is the opinion that the 
enigmatic dvx is a reference to a particular person. In the 
words of Moore, " it must represent in some way or other 
a definite name, because it is so evidently suggested by the 
riddle of the number of the Beast in Reo. xiii. i8." The verse 
in Revelation reads: "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath 
understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the 
number of a man: and his number is Six hundred threescore 
and six." By substituting for these numbers the Hebrew 
letters regarded as their cabalistic equivalents, the beast has 
been identified as Nero. 

It seems likely, therefore, from the analogy of the cabalistic 
" number of the beast " in Revelation, that the dvx, as " a five 
hundred, ten, and five," is some sort of cabaHstic cryptogram 
for the name of a particular person. 

That the "number of the beast" was indeed Dante's 
model for the dvx as " a five hundred, ten, and five " is further 
proved by another striking analogy. It is prophesied of the 
DVX, Purg. xxxiii. 44-45, that he 

anciderk la fuia 
Con quel gigante che con lei delinque. 

The harlot here mentioned is evidently su^ested by "the 
great whore that sitteth upon many waters: with whom 
the kings of the earth have committed fornication," Rev. 
xvii. 1-2; and the giant by "the beast that carrieth her," 
Rev. xvii. 7, the beast, that is, whose number is given in Rev. 
xiii. These analogies between Revelation and the pass^e in 
Purgatorio prove that Dante found the model for his enigma 



)doyGoO(^lc 



DXV 117 

forte in the cabalistic " number of the beast." That he found 
his model in the Scriptures disposes Bnally of any objection 
that he could have considered cryptographic devices as 
unworthy of his poem. 

Proceeding on the analogy with " the number of the beast," 
which is generally accepted as a cabalistic cryptogram, 
various commentators, with various results, have attempted 
to decipher the "five hundred, ten, and five" by the method 
of cabala. This method consists of representing the letters of 
the alphabet by numbers. Since there are many cabalistic 
systems, which differ as to the numbers by which the various 
letters are represented, the interpretation must depend on 
the system that is adopted. As an illustration I refer specially 
to the process by which Moore, in his Studies in Dante, seeks 
to prove that 515 refers to Emperor Henry VII. 

The entire essay might well be quoted for my purposes, 
for its detailed erudition reveals the vast extent of cabalistic 
literature, the seriousness with which learned men regarded 
it, and especially the likely "acquaintance and even friend- 
ship " between Dante and a Jewish writer on cabala, Emanuel 
ben Salomon. Moore thinks that Dante would have desig- 
nated the Emperor Henry as "Arrico," and that then, since 
the science of cabala was onginally and remained predomi- 
nantly Hebrew, he would have transliterated the Italian 
name into the nearest Hebrew equivalents. As there is no 
equivalent for "o," Moore assumes that Dante would have 
assigned to it the value 4, because it is the fourth vowel; 
the other values which Moore assigns are those r^;ularly 
accepted in Hebrew. Thus he obtains: 



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ii8 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

By a different application of the cabalistic method 
Scartazzini arrives at what he regards as proof that the dvx 
is Can Grande. His "proof" depends, among other things, 
on his giving Can Grande the title: "Kan Grande de Scala, 
Signore de Verona," Moore dismisses Scartazzini's solution 
in the following words: "Scartazzini endeavors, in a most 
preposterousfashion, to make the number 515 indicate 'Can 
Grande' by the help of a descriptive title containing a 
mixture of Latin and Italian words, and by then selecting 
out of it most arbitrarily certain letters and neglecting others 
. . . He has still to invent ... a purely arbitrary and 
imaginary system of numerical values for the letters of the 
alphabet, not Latin, nor Greek, nor Hebrew." 

Some of the objections which Moore makes to Scartaz- 
zini's solution are applicable to his own. The arbitrary 
character of Moore's ailment shows in the choice of the 
form ARRico, his assumption of the value four for the letter 
o, his dubious use of k, and the further assumption that 
Dante would have used for the numerical equivalents of 
Italian letters the cabalistic equivalents of the letters of the 
Hebrew alphabet. It is significant, however, that the two 
great Dante scholars agree that it is only by some appli- 
cation of the cabalistic method that the enigma is to be 
solved. There can be no doubt, in justification of this agree- 
ment, that Dante knew the literature of cabala. As Moore 
points out, " the method could scarcely have been unfamiliar 
to one so much interested in Biblical exegesis as Dante. 
Indeed, his own processes of interpretation have much in 
common with Kabbalistic methods." Moreover, there 
appeared in Dante's life-time the celebrated book Zohar, an 
important and widely circulated work on the cabalistic 
interpretation of Scripture. 

Evidence exists, as I believe, in the symbolism of the 
Divina Commedta that Dante was acquainted with this work ; 
and it is not impossible that he may have been acquainted, 
as Moore suggests, with the work of his contemporary 
Emanuel ben Salomon, an authority on the subject of cabala. 
There is a device used by Emanuel ben Salomon,, the 



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DXV 119 

contemporary of Dante to whom I have just referred, which 
shows an interesting variation of the cabalistic method. In 
order to designate himself at the end of one of his works he 
says: 

" My name is 70 and 40, and a Nun (n) joined to a Vau 
(v or u), and the ending of my name is ' El.' " 

In this cabalistic signature, made by an expert in cabala, 
it is important to note that, along with the use of numbers 
regarded as cabalistic equivalents of letters, some of the 
actual letters of the name are used. This use of a combination 
of numbers and letters will show, I think, a kind of precedent 
for the method by which I interpret the dxv. 

In my own interpretation of the "five hundred, ten, and 
five" I accept as a partial interpretation the reading: dvx. 
In other words, I r^ard the cryptogram as double^ in the 
sense that it not only, as I shall show, names Dante himself 
but also names him leader, dvx, then, is the first, or prelimi- 
nary, form into which the "five hundred, ten, and five" is- to 
be translated. But how, in its turn, is dvx to be translated 

into DANTE ? 

The translation of dvx into dante requires, for the perfect 
working out of the cryptogram, a spelling of Dante's whole 
name in which the last name has ten letters. The cryptogram 
will work out, however, on a nine letter form of the last name 
ending in o, as in the accepted form for the name of Dante's 
father, Alighiero. An instance of Dante's own use of a spelling 
with ten letters exists, I believe, in the anagrammatic read- 
ing: EccoMi, Dis, dakte ALDiGHiERo (sec page 110.) 

We need not rely, however, on this anagram for authority 
for a ten-letter spelling of Dante's last name. For early ex- 
amples I refer to Toynbee's Dante Dictionary and to Sche- 
rillo's // Cognome Alighieri in j4/cuni CapitoH della Biografia 
di Dante, which show that there is early evidence for the 
forms Aldighiero, Aldighteri, and AUigfiieri. The name de- 
rives from the name of the wife of Dante's ancestor Cac- 
ciaguida, which was, according to some spellings, Aldighiera 
degli Aldigkieri. The singular masculine would, then, in 
this original form, have been Aldighiero. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



120 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

For the translation of Dvx Into Dante's name I take, then, 
the form dante aldighiero. The other ten-letter spellings of 
Alighieri will answer, as will also the nine-letter spelling 
ending in o: AHghtero; but they answer less perfectly. 

The D of DVX, obtained as the equivalent of five hundred, 
corresponds to the initial letter d in DAtrrE. 

The V, or five, corresponds to the number of letters in 
DANTE. It also corresponds to e, the last letter in dante, 
since E, as the fifth letter of the alphabet, is the alphabetical 
equivalent of five, dante is indicated, therefore, not only as 
to the number of letters, but also as to the first and last 
letters, as in the common method of indicating a propername 
without spelling it in full: o. . .e. 

The X, or ten, corresponds to the ten letters in aldighiero. 
It also indicates in their proper order both the initial and the 

final letter of aldighieho, or a o. This indication 

appears in writing ten according to the Arabic notation. The 
I of lo corresponds to the initial a of aldighiero, since a, 
as the first letter of the alphabet, has the numerical value of 
one. And the o of lo corresponds to the final o in aldi- 
ghiero, since o as zero and o as a letter have the same form. 

Thus the ten indicates not only the number of letters in the 
last name, but also the first and last letters of the name: 
A .... o. In case, however, the name, as in /1/ighierOy was a 
nine-letter name ending in o, the ten of the cryptogram still 
indicates the name by its initial audits final letters; a. . . .o. 

The correspondence between "five hundred, ten, and 
five," DVX, and dante aldighiero is sufficiently dose. And 
this correspondence is determined by variations in a cabalistic 
method which is known to have been used by Dante's con- 
temporary, the authority on cabala, Emanuel ben Salomon. 
This method, as we saw, consists in a combination of letters 
and of numbers regarded as the equivalents of letters. 
Dante's variations — if it be admitted that the method I have 
ascribed to him is his — from the method of Salomon consists 
in a combined use of. the Roman and Arabic notation of 
numbers and in taking as the numerical value of a letter, not 
the number that would be assigned to it in the Hebrew 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



DXV m 

alphabet, but the numberofitsposition in theltalian alphabet. 

The identification of the dvx and dante aldighiero may 
certainly be regarded as indicated by the preceding interpre- 
tation. But in the very passage that treats of the enigmaforte 
there is further evidence of a cryptographic character for 
this identification. This evidence consists of a double acrostic, 
a series of interior sequences, and an acrostic on the proper 
names contained in the passage. 

First, for the double acrostic, see the five terzine, Purg. 
xxxiii. 43-57: 

Nel quale un cinquecento diece e cinque, 43 

Messo da Die, ancider^ la fuia 

Con quel gigante che con lei delinque. 
£ forse che la mia narrazion buia, 46 

Qual Temi e Sfinge, men ti persuade. 

Perch' a lor modo lo intelletto attuia; 
Ma tosto lien li fatti le Naiade, 49 

Che solveranno questo enigma forte, 

Senza danno di pecore o di biade. 
Tu nota; e si come da me son porta, 53 

Cos! queste parole segna ai vivi 

Del viver ch h un correre alia morte; 
Ed abbi a mente, quando tu le scrivi, 55 

Di non celar qual hai vista la pianta, 

Ch' h or due volte dirubata quivi. 

There are several features in the text of this passage which 
seem to indicate that these five terzine are to be taken as an 
acrostic frame. 

First, the passage b^ns with the line in which the all 
important "five hundred, ten, and five" is mentioned. 
Moreover, the number of this line is 43, a number whose 
integers have the perfect number 7 for their sum and which 
express, moreover, the fundamental relation: 3 to 4, on which 
the number symbolism of the Divina Commedia is based. 

Second, the passage ends with a terzina that begins, line 
55, with the letters: ed. These letters, the last and first of 
DAHTE, seem often to be used by Dante both to indicate his 
own name and to mark the beginning or the end of a passage 
that contuns a cryptogram. 



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lis THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Third, the initials of the three lines of this last terzinahave 
a special significance which 1 shall have to wait till the next 
chapter to explain in full. These initial letters are: 



Note that e, as the fifth letter in the alphabet, has the value 
of 5. D, in the Roman notation, has the value of 500. And c, 
in the Roman notation, has the value of 100. If the zeros are 
disregarded, it appears that the integers which these numbers 
yield are 5 and 5 and i, exactly the same integers contained 
in the number of the enigma: 5CX), 10, and 5. In the next 
chapter I will show in detail how Dante constantly uses as a 
signature a variety of combinations of letters which yield 
these integers. For the present, then, I simply note that the 
five terzine, lines 43 to 57, are indicated as an acrostic frame 
by being bounded symmetrically at the b^inning and end 
by the significant integers: 5, 5, and i. 

Consider, then, that the five terzine are indicated as an 
acrostic frame. The initials of the first lines of these terzine 



46 E 
49 M 
5a T 
SS E 
Read: UEtrcE 

But this acrostic mekte is not the only acrostic on these 
lines. Consider on the same lines the following marginal 
letters: 



55 ED 
Read: me, DA^n'E 



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DXV 123 

Exactly as Dante identifies himself (his name) by means 
ofadouble acrostic with NATi (see pp. 103-5), with fante (see 
p. 77), and with MENTE(see pp. 183-4), so here, by the same 
device, he again identifies himself with mekte. Mente, as 
appears in the reference to the Trinity in Inferno iii, is the 
intellectual form of the divine Son, or Christ, with whom 
Dante constantly identifies himself throughout the Divina 
Commedia. 

The presence of me, dante in acrosdc form in the passage 
which contains the enigma forte: "five hundred, ten, and 
five," is an association which points indubitably to Dante as 
the mysterious person whom the enigma masks. Dante, as 
mente, is the prophesied dvx. 

There are some mteresting double meanings in the passage 
containing these acrostics which may be taken as hints of the 
cryptic intention. Note first the words, Hne 55: Ed abbi a 
mente. If ed is taken, as it so often seems to be meant, to 
indicate dante, the quotation may be understood in the 
sense: "Have Dante in mind." Moreover, the ed and mente 
in the same phrase repeat the association of dakte and 
MENTE that appears in the associated acrostic readings: me, 
dante and mekte. 

Note, second, the words, line 56: Di non celar. Di is the 
spelled form of d; it may be understood in connection with 
this phrase as the initial of dante. The words T>i non celar 
may therefore be read, as having a double sense, for the 
imperative "Do not conceal dante." 

Note also the possible double meaning, line 52, in regard 
to the enigma, of the words: Come da me. All these possible 
double meanings, slight or farfetched as they may seem in 
themselves taken separately, have a cumulative value in 
connection with my reading of the enigma and the acrostic 
readings which I have shown. 

Note now, in confirmation of my interpretation of the dvx 
as dante aldighiero, the interior sequences in the same 
passage in which the ovx is mentioned and the acrostic me, 
dante is found. 

The first interior sequence to which I will call attention 



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124 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

b^ins on the initial of cinquecento^ line 43, and reads directly 
down. The c of cinquecento is to be replacedj exactly as it is 
replaced in the reading: dvx, by a d, since d is the equivalent 
ofeinquecento in the Roman notation. The sequence to which 
I refer appears in the following form: 

43 nel quale un D 

44 messo da dlo A 

45 con quel gigaNTE 

The letters of the sequence, which I have thus capitalized, 

spell: DAKTE. 

The regularity of this sequence is noteworthy. The d, 
the A, and the s are each In the fourteenth letter space of 
their respective lines; and the te is immediately adjacent 
to the N. The possibility that such a sequence might be 
accidental is very slight. The intention is confirmed, first, by 
the mathematical regularity, and, second, by the fact that 
the beginning of the sequence coincides with the beginning 
of the cryptic number and that the sequence and the cryptic 
number both give for their readings the name of the same 
person: dante. 

There are two more interior sequences in this passage, and 
the three sequences appear as follows: 

43 nel quale un Dlnquecento Dlece e cinque 

44 messo da dio AnclderA la fula 

45 con quel gigaNTE che con lei delinque 

46 e forse che la mia narrazion buia 

47 qual temi e sfiNge men ti persuade 

48 perch 'a lor modo lo inTelletto attuia 

49 ma tosto flen 11 fatti le nalAIX 

For the second sequence read the d of diece^ the second of 
the cryptic numbers, line 43; the second a of ancidera, 44; 
the NTE o( gigante, 45: dante. 

For the third sequence read the n oi sfinge^ 47; the first t of 
intelletto, 48; the ade of naiade, 49: dante. 

The second sequence, which runs from D oi dtece to nte of 
gigante, is mathematically regular in its spacing. It is strongly 
corroborated as intentional by its relation to the first 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



DXV 125 

sequence; it starts on the second of the cryptic numbers, 
just as the first sequence starts on the first cryptic number; 
it uses for its a the last letter of amider^t just as the first 
sequence uses for its A the first letter of the same word; and 
it uses for its nte the nte used by the first sequence. The 
third sequence is likewise spaced with mathematical 
regularity. 

The fourth interior sequence which I shall show here is in 
a passage a few lines below the foregoing, as follows: 

52 tu nota e si come da me aon porTE 

53 cosi queste parole SEGNA ai vlvi 

54 del viver ch'e uN correre alia morte 

55 ed abbi A inente quando tu le scrivi 

56 Di non celar qual hai vista la pianta 

Read the te of por/f, 52; segna, 53; the n of an, 54; the a 
before mente, 55; the d, initial of 56: segka dante. 

Note the hints in the text which call attention to the 
signature. The signature starts on the d of Di non celar, 
which words may be taken, as I have indicated, in a double 
sense to mean, "Do not conceal Dante." And the signature 
ends on a line that begins with what may be under- 
stood as an injunction to the reader to be on the lookout: 
Tu nota. And on the same line are the significant words: 
Come da me. 

This sequence is mathematically regular. It b^ns with the 
D on the first space of 56; on the eighth space after D, on the 
line above, is a ; on the eighth space after a, on the line above, 
is n; the eighth space after k, on the line above, is an empty 
space, since no letter is to be read here, and the word segka 
is immediately adjacent; and on the line above, on the eighth 
space beyond the empty space adjacent to segna where no 
letter is to be read, is the t followed by the e which completes 
the signature. 

I need hardly repeat that the mathematical regularity of 
the sequence is a strong argument against the possibility that 
it might be accidental. 

In the passage of five terzine which contains in its first line 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



126 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

the cryptic un cinquecento diece e cinque we have now seen 
an acrostic signature and several signatures in interior se- 
quences. The passage contains still another signature by 
still another cryptographic device — the device of an acrostic 
on a group of proper names. The proper names mentioned 
in the passage which we are here considering are dig, temi, 
SFiNGE, and NAiADB. Consider the following initial and 
contiguous letters in these proper names: 

DIO DI 

TEMI TE 

SFINGE SFINGE 

NAIADE NA 

Read: dante si finge 

Interesting in connection with this signature Is the fact 
that it is made possible by Dante's use of a word to which 
the editors of the Divina Commedia commonly refer as a 
blunder: Naiade for the Latin Laiades. 

In recapitulation of my argument that Dante is the dxv, 
I have shown in the preceding pages a close correspondence 
between the cryptic number, "five hundred, ten, and five," 
and the name dakte aldighiero, a form of the name for 
which, as I have shown, there is early evidence and the 
evidence of the anagram: eccomi, dis, dante aldighiero. 
I have also shown an acrostic signature: me, dante, in the 
passage in which the cryptic number appears, a series of 
four interior sequences in the same passage, readii^ dante, 
and an acrostic on the proper names in the passage. More- 
over, I have pointed out a number of expressions in the 
passage that may be taken as having double meanings which 
again indicate dante. Such a complex of signatures, which 
can scarcely have been accidental, is the cryptographic proof 
that Dante and the dxv are one and the same. 

For the symbolism of the dxv see the discussion in Chapter 
VI of the symbolism of the Veltro and especially the dis- 
cussion, in Chapter VIII, of the symbolism of the Mystic 
Procession, in connection with which the dxv is prophesied. 
The dxv, as I will show, is to be understood to indicate 
Dante as reborn and therefore as divine. 



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Chapter V 
THE UNIVERSAL FORM 



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DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc 



Chapter V 
THE UNIVERSAL FORM 



T^HERE is a curious statement in the fifth canto of 
■^ Paradiso, lines 98-99, that Dante makes about himself. 
He says: 

pur di mia natura 
Trasmutabile son per tutte guise! 



This statement that Dante is by nature transmutable into all 
guises is an important clue both to the symbolism and to the 
cryptography of the Divina Commedia. 

But what are the guises into which Dante is transmutable ? 
One of them, as we have seen in the preceding chapter, is 
certainly the dxv, the cryptic number, five hundred, ten and 
five, into which, as I have shown, the name of Dante can be 
transmuted. 

What, then, are his other guises ? In the present chapter 
I will show various purely cryptographic guises into which 
Dante, or, rather, the name of Dante, is transmutable. 
I will leave to the next chapter the discussion of the symbolic 
guises, the personifications, into which he transmutes himself 
as an individual. 

The passage in which Dante comes nearest to giving a 
literal statement as^to the method of discovering his guises, 
the transmutations of which he remains himself the constant 
factor, is to be found in Paradiso xxxiii. 85-93, '" the words 
with which he describes what he saw in his vision of the 
somma luce. 

The passage reads as follows: 



I "9] 
!doyGoO<^lc 



130 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Net suo profondo vidi che s' interna, 85 

Legato con amore in un volume, 
Ciit che per I'universo si squadema; 

Sustanzia ed accident! e lor costume, 8S 

Quasi confiati insieme per tal modo, 
Che cib ch' io dico i un semplice lume. 

La forma universal di questo nodo 91 

Credo ch* io vidi, perch^ piil di largo, 
Dicendo questo, mi sento ch' io godo. 



Dante is here describing how he saw in his vision the union 
of substance and accidents and their modes. The words 
substance, accident, and mode belong to the technical vocabu- 
lary of scholastic philosophy; they are used to express the 
relation of appearance to reality. The appearance of things is 
infinite, the infinite phenomena of the universe. But under- 
lying the infinite phenomena and uniting them is a reaUty 
that is ^ngle, the one and universal substance of God. The 
appearances of things, therefore, are the accidents and modes 
of the divine substance; they are the divine manifestations, 
the guises into which God himself is transmuted. The key to 
these transmutations of God into all the guises of his 
phenomena, the solution — in other words — of the problem of 
appearance and reality, is what Dante says he found in his 
mystic vision of the Supreme Light. 

Now when Dante declares that he himself is by his nature 
transmutable into all guises he is making no confession of 
weakness or instability of character, as is often supposed. 
He is actually declaring, on the contrary, that his trans- 
mutabihty into all guises is the transmutability of God, who 
manifests himself in all the divine guises of the phenomena of 
the universe. Dante is asserting, therefore, his own divine 
character; he is identifying himself with God. 

If, then, as Dante says in describing his vision of the 
Supreme Light, he solved the problem of appearance and 
reality, seeing and understanding the relation of the infinite 
phenomena of the universe to the divine substance that 
makes them one, if, in other words, he found the key to the 
transmutations of God into the guises of God, he found, per- 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE UNIVERSAL FORM 131 

force, the key to his own transmutations into all the guises of 
himself. The key that unlocks the mystery of the divine 
appearances is the key that unlocks the mystery of his own, 
since the mystery is the same for the appearances of God and 
the appearances of Dante. Important for us, therefore, are 
the exact words with which Dante expresses himself as having 
found this key. They are so very important, indeed, that I 
will repeat them: 

La forma universal di questo nodo 
Credo ch' io vidi. 

These words, which are capable of a double meaning, give 
the key to the "guises" of Dante. 

The obvious meaning which these words convey is simply 
this: "The universal form of this knot I believe that I saw." 
But it is possible to understand them as follows: "The 
universal form of this knot I believe as 10 vidi." In other 
words, Dante may here be understood to say: "I believe that 
the universal form of this knot is 10 vidi " — taking thus the 
words 10 VIDI as being a form in themselves quite apart from 
their denotation. 

But how, as I have here suggested, can the words 10 vidi 
be " the universal form " of the guises of Dante ? How can 
they be the key to his transmutations of himself as an in- 
dividual or as a name? The answer is obvious. The words 10 
VIDI, considered as a cryptogram, are the equivalent of the 
cryptic number "Jioe hundred, ten, and Jive" and therefore in 
turn equivalent, as I demonstrated in the preceding chapter, 
to Dvx and to dante aldighiero (or, if the reader prefers, 

to DANTE ALDIGHIERJ Or DANTE ALIGHIERO). The letters IO of 

10 VIDI are the equivalent, in the Arabic notation of numbers, 
of ten; the letters vi of vidi are the Italian spelling of the 
letter v, which in the Roman notation of numbers is five; 
and the letters di of vidi are the Italian spellii^ for the letter 
D, which in the Roman notation is five hundred. The corres- 
pondences may be expressed more clearly, perhaps, as 
follows: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



132 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

lO = lO 

VI (v) = 5 

DI (d) - 500 

The transmutation of the words of the universal form 
10 viDi into Dvx may be shown as follows: 

10 - ten = X (in the Roman notation) 



Rearranged, these letters spell dvx. 

The transmutation of the words of the universal form 
10 viDi into DANTE proceeds by the method described in the 
preceding chapter for transmuting " five hundred, ten, and 
five" into dvx and into dante aldighiero. 

lo — io-ALDiGHiERO, the 1 of 10 representing the alpha- 
betical equivalent of one, or a, the first letter of the alphabet 
and the initial of aldighiero; the o of lo representing the 
last letter, or o, of aldighiero; and the lo, as a number, 
representing the ten letters of the name. As I said in the pre- 
ceding chapter, aldighiero is the form of the name for 
which there is documentary evidence and, as I have found, 
the evidence of the anagram (see p. i lo). But if the reader is 
unwilling to admit the evidence for this form of the name, the 
10, as a ten, of lo viDi is transmutable, as I showed in the 
preceding chapter, to any ten-letter spelling of the name 
in so far as it designates the number of letters of the name, or 
to a nine-letter spelHng ending in o, as In AHghierOy in that it 
designates by its i the initial and by its o the final letter. 

VI -V, or five, =first, the number of letters in dante; and 
second, the letter with which dante ends, or e, which, as the 
fifth letter of the alphabet, has the numerical value of five. 

DI -D, the initial letter of dante. 

lo VIDI is, therefore, " the universal form " which appears, 
by transmutation, in the name of Dante, and in his guise as a 
"five hundred, ten, and five," and in dvx. 

In the foregoing exposition of lo viDi as " the universal 
form " of dante, I have confined myself to the purely crypto- 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE UNIVERSAL FORM 133 

graphic analogies between 10 vidi and dante as a name. In 
addition to these cryptographic analtmes, however, there is a 
striking analogy between the sense of the words 10 vidi and 
the character of Dante — the character, at any rate, which he 
ascribes to himself in the Divina Commedia. The analogy to 
which I now refer may have further determined Dante in his 
choice of 10 VIDI as his "universal form." The sense, "I saw," 
expresses, indeed, the very theme of the Divina Commedia. 
Dante is the seer; he saw the universe from bottom to top; 
he saw God; and in God he saw himself. The universal form 
10 VIDI expresses, therefore, not only a cryptt^aphic analt^y 
with the name of Dante but an analc^y with his character in 
the poem. It is not inconceivable, moreover, that in the 
identification which he makes in the poem of his own nature 
with the divine nature, Dante may have intended a punning: 
10, VI Di, as " I, there God." 

The importance of the/orwia universal as the clue to the 
cryptc^aphic guises, or di^uises, of Dante is indicated 
by an acrostic reading in the very passage in which the/ijrmd 
universal is mentioned. The six terzine, Par. xxxili. 91-108, 
are: 

La forma universal di questo nodo 91 

Credo cW io vidi, perchS pill di largo, 

Dicendo questo, mi sento ch' 10 godo. 
Un punto solo m' h mag^or letargo, 94 

Cne venticinque secoli alia impresa, 

Che fe' Nettuno ammirar 1' ombra d' Argo. 
Cos! la mente mia, tutta sospesa, 97 

Mirava fissa immobile ed attenta, 

E sempre di mirar faceasi accesa. 
A quella luce cotal si diventa, 100 

Che votgersi da lei per altro aspetto 

£ impossibil che mai si consenta; 
Perocchfe il ben ch' 6 del volerc obbietto, 103 

Tutto s' accoglie in lei, e fuor di quella 

£ difettivo ci5 che 11 h perfetto. 
Omai sark piil corta mia lavella, 106 

Pure a quel ch' io ricordo, che di un fante 

Che bagni ancor la lingua alia mammella. 

Consider the initials of the first lines of these terzine: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



134 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

91 L 
94 u 
97 c 



Read down on lines 91, 94, 97, and 100: luca. 

Read down on 97, 100, 103, and 106: capo. 

Each of the acrostic words is spelt on four terzine, so that 
they overlap, the last two letters of the first word being also 
the first two letters of the second word. Exactly in the middle 
of this acrostic reading, between the two letters used in both 
words, is the acrostic me, spelt on the initials of lines 98 and 
99. The complete reading may be shown thus: 



100 A 

103 p 

106 o 
The complete reading is therefore: luca capo. me. The me 
calls attention to the fact that Dante is present in the 
passage. Capo, like the words viso a.nd /acciay indicates the 
device of the person concealed. "Head shines," therefore, 
is a confirmation of the forma universal as a disguise for 
Dante. The first words of the line, 97, on which the acrostic 
CAPO begins are; Cosi la mente mia, so that the text and the 
acrostic are related in meaning. Moreover, as we have seen, 
Dante identifies himself with mente in general. The idea of the 
acrostic luca appears in the text in the words; A quella luce, 
line 100, the line on which the acrostic luca ends. 

Note that on the first lines of the two terzine, 103-108, 
may be read an acrostic: poema; so that, as a variant for the 
acrostic: luca capo, there may be read on the same lines an 
acrostic: luca poema. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE UNIVERSAL FORM 135 

There is another confirmation of the cryptic character of 
tYiz forma universal in the initials of the three lines of the 
terzina in which the forma universal is mentioned. The 
initials of these hnes are: 



These three letters, considered as indicating numbers in 
the Roman notation, represent respectively 50, 100, and 500. 
By disregarding the zeroes, we have here 5, i, and 5, the 
integers of the cryptic number of the prophesied dxv, in 
connection with t}vt forma universal. 

As a symbol of himself Dante constantly uses any combi- 
nation of letters which may be transmuted into these 
integers, since from these integers his own name can be 
reconstructed. Before proceeding, therefore, to show the more 
important specific guises of Dante I will show a few examples 
of his use, as symbols of his own name, of various ccmbi- 
nations of letters that may be transmuted, by disregarding 
the zeroes, into a 5, a i, and a 5. 

The following pass^e. Par. xxxiii. 46-57, consists of four 
terzine: 

Ed io ch' al fine dj tutti i disii 46 

M* appropinquava, si com' io dovea, 

L' ardor del desiderio in me finii. 
Bernardo m' accennava, e sorridea, 49 

Perch' io guardassi sugo; ma io era 

Gi& per me stesso tal qual ei volea; 
Ch% la mia vista, vcncndo sincera, 52 

E pi& e piil entrava per Io raggio 

Delr alta luce, che da s^ h vera. 
Da quinci innanzi il mio veder fu maggio 55 

Che il parlar nostro, ch' a tal vista cede, 

E cede la memoria a tanto oltraggio. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
these terzine: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



136 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



46 


E 


49 


BERNARDO 


S3 


C 


55 


DA 


1: CEDA 


BERNARDO 



This reading is appropriate to the text. Bernardo has been 

directing the eyes of Dante to God, and he yields his place, 

as intermediator, when Dante, as he says himself, becomes 

per me stesso tal qual ei volea. 

The chief cryptc^aphic interest of the passage, however, 
is not in this acrostic, but in the variants which it contains 
of Dante's numerical signature. The initials of the first, the 
third, and the fourth terzina may be transmuted respectively 
into a 5, a I, and a 5. 

The initials of the first terzina are: 

46 E 

47 M 

48 L 

E, as the fifth letter of the alphabet, has the value in cabala 
of 5; M, in the Roman notation, is 1,000; and l, in the Roman 
notation, is 50. By disregarding the zeroes we have a 5, a 1, 
and a 5. 

The initials of the third terzina are: 



53 E 

54 D 

C, in the Roman notation is 100; e, in cabala, is 5; and d, 
in Roman notation, is 500. By disregarding the zeroes we 
have a 5, a 1, and a 5. 

The initials of the fourth terzina, d, c, e, are the same in 
different order, and give therefore the same int^;ers. 

But why, if there is a numerical signature on the first, the 
third, and the fourth terzina, should there be none on the 
second ? The absence here is only apparent, for the signature 
is concealed in an interior sequence: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE UNIVERSAL FORM 137 

49 bemardo m'accennava e sorrlDea 

50 perch 'io guardassl suso ma 10 era 

51 gla per me stesso tal qual el Volea 

Notice that in sorrtdea, 49, is d with i beside it; im- 
mediately below, 50, in the same letter space, is o, with i 
beside it; and immediately below is 1, with v beside it. All 
these letters spell 10 vidi, the "universal form" itself, and 
give, therefore, the integers of the cryptic number, 515. 

Notice that the passage on which the acrostic ceda 
BERNARDO appears begins with the words Edio. These words, 
as we shall see, are also a cryptographic signature. 

Notice, moreover, that the letters on the line indicating 
the sequence, the letters, that is, that fall in an exactly 
vertical line, spell dig. 

Thus in the very passage in which Dante says in effect: 
Io vidi Dio, he makes in one of the four terzine in question an 
interior sequence: 10 vidi, with a special emphasis on the 
letters dio; and in each of the other three terzine acrostic 
initials with the numerical value of 10 vidi. The coincidence 
in such a passage of an interior sequence: 10 vidi, with three 
numerical equivalents in acrostics is strong confirmation for 
the argument that 10 vidi is the "universal form" that may 
be transmuted into dante, and the guises of dante, by a 
system of alphabetical and numerical equivalents. 

It may be noted that in connection with the one overt 
mention of the name of Dante in the Ditina Commedia 
there appear in acrostic form the letters: vid, which yield in 
Roman notation the same number as 10 vidi: 515. The four 
terzine beginning with "Dante," Purg. xxx. 55-66, are: 

'Dante, perch6 Virgilio se ne vada, 55 

Non pianger anco, non pianger ancora; 
Ch% planner ti convien per altra spada.' 

Quasi ammiraglio, che in poppa ed in prora 58 
Viene a veder la gente che ministra 
Per gli altri leeni, ed a ben Far la incuora, 

In sulla sponda del carro sinistra, 61 

Quando mi volsi al suon del nome mio, 
Che di necessity qui si registra, 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



138 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Vidi la Donna, che pria m' appario 64 

Velata sotto 1' angelica festa, 
Drizzar gli occhi ver me di qua dal rio. 

Consider the following mat^nal letters on the first lines of 
these four terzine: 



55 


D 


58 


QUASI 


61 


I 


64 


V 


,: QUASI VID 



This su^estion of 10 vidi in the acrostic quasi vid, is 
curiously repeated in the text itself, where, along with the 
mention of Dante, there is constant reiteration of the 
elements of 10 vidi. This reiteration will appear in the 
following method of capitalizing the text: 

55 D ante, perche V irgil 10 se ne V a D a 

62 quEindo ml V olsl al suon D el nome m 10 

64 V 1 D 1 la D onna che prla m'appar 10 

66 D rizzar gli occhi V er me di qua dal r 10 

In line 55 10 vidi is repeated, reading, first, from the first of 
the line to the centre, and reading, second, from the last of 
the line to the centre. 

This repetition of d, v, and 10 in the passage which contains 
the one overt mention of his name in the Divina Commedia 
confirms the use of 10 vidi as a cryptographic symbol of the 
name of Dante. 

There is a curious use of 10 vidi in Par. xxx. 91-99, which 
further confirms the words as a cryptographic symbol. The 
passage is: 

Poi come gente stata sotto larve, 91 

Che pare altro che prima, se si sveste 
La sembianza non sua in che disparve; 

CosI mi si cambiaro in ma»ior feste 94 

Li fiori e le faville, si ch 10 vidi 
Ambo le corti del ciel manifeste. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE UNIVERSAL FORM 

O isplendor di Dio, per cu' io vidi 
L alto trionfo del regr 



Consider the following marginal 'letters of the first lines of 
the three terzine: 



97 o 
Read: copio 

What is it that, as Dante says in the acrostic, he copies ? 
I surest that it is the words of the "universal form", lo vidi. 

Lines 95, 97, 99 end in vidi, one of the only three words, 
so far as I can discover, which Dante uses as rhymes in an 
identical sense. He has many "perfect" rhymes, but in the 
perfect rhyme the sense is different, though the sound is the 
same. He uses Crislo as an identical rhyme in three passages, 
and the Latin word me, Purg. xxxiii. 10 and 12. The use of 
vidi to rhyme with itself in the same way that Crista is used 
to rhyme with itself su^ests that 10 vidi and Crista are 
identified as symbols in the way that Dante constantly 
identifies himself with Christ in the symbolism of the entire 
poem. And the use of me in the same way confirms the 
su^estion. 

The usual explanation of this repetition of vidi, thus used 
as a rhyme with its«lf, is that Dante wished to emphasize the 
intensity of his vision. This explanation is good as far as it 
goes. But see what the final words really are: 
95 10 VIDI 

97 10 VIDI 
99 10 LO VIDI 

Here is Dante's symbol 10 vidi repeated in a most signifi- 
cant passage. Dante is looking into the light of God and sees 
the image of himself as 10 vidi, exactly as in the passage in 
which 10 VIDI appears in connection with thc/orma universal. 
Notice as possible hints of 10 vidi as a disguise of Dante, 
the words: gente stata soUo lame, and: mi si cambiaro. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



140 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

The following passage, Inf, xxvi. 19-24, consists of two 
terzine : 

Allor mi dolsi, ed ora mi ridoglio, 19 

Quand' io drizzo U mente a ci& ch' io vidi; 
E p\ii Io ingegno aifreno ch' io non soglio, 

Perchd non corra che virtjl nol ^uidi; 22 

SI che se stella buona, o mighor cosa 
M' ha dato il ben, ch' io stesso nol m' invidi. 

Consider, first, on all the lines of this pass^e the following 
marginal letters: 



Read: peremas qui 

The command, expressed in this acrostic, to "remove 
here" may refer to the telestic device by which the signature 
10 VIDI appears: 

19 (ridogi) 10 



(sogl) 

(g) 


10 

UIDI 
COSA 


(in) 


VIDI 



Thus 10 VIDI is repeated twice, vidi thrice. The sense of the 
passage is amusing in connection with the signatures; Dante 
is curbing his genius {ingegno) so that he may not have reason 
to grudge himself the good. Ingegno is a suggestive word here, 
meaning "artifice" and "wit," as we find it in the phrase 
ingegno sottile, Purg. xii. 66 (see p. I4). 

Tlie repetition of the vidi rhyme should be compared with 
Par. XXX. 95-97-99. There we have the same word in the same 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE UNIVERSAL FORM i+i 

sense, whereas here we have a "perfect" rhyme, the letters 
the same, since u equals v, but the sense different. 

Confirming lo viDi as a cryptic designation of Dante is an 
acrostic on the passage in which the words lo vidi are used 
for the first time in the Divtna Commedia, Inf. i. 64: 

Quand'io vidi costui nel gran diserto. 
The four terzine, Inf. i. 55-66, ending with the terzina in 
which this first use of the words lo vidi appears, are: 

E quale h quei che volentieri acquista, 55 

E giugne il tempo che perder lo face, 

Che in tutt' i suoi pensier piange e s* attrista: 
Tal mi fece la bestia senza pace, 58 

Che, venendomi contra, a poco a poco 

Mi ripingeva U, dove il Sol tace. 
Mentre ch' io rovinava in basso loco, 61 

Dinanzi ^li occhi mi si fu offerto 

Chi per lun^o silenzio parea fioco. 
Quand io vidi costui nel gran diserto, 64 

'Miserere di me' gridai a lui, 

'Qual che tu sii, od ombra od uomo certo.' 

Consider on the first lines of these terzine the following 
marginal letters: 

S5 E 

58 TA 

61 ME 

64 QUAND 10 VIDI 

Read: "10 vidi" qua me, dante 

The second time that the words Io vidi appear in the Divtna 
Commedia is in Inf, ii. 8: 

O mente, cHe scrivesti eld ch' io vidi. 
The crypt<^ams in the passage in which the 10 vidi thus ap- 
pears confirm again the words as a designation for Dante. 
The first four terzine of the canto read as follows: 

Lo giorno se n' andava, e 1' aer bruno 
Toglieva gli animai che sono in terra, 
Dalle fatiche loro; ed 10 sol uno 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



142 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

M' apparecchiava a sostcner la gucrra 4 

S) del cammino e ^ della pietate, 

Che ritrarri la mente, che non erra. 
O Muse, o alto ing^no, or m' aiutate: 7 

O mente, che scrivesd cid ch' io vidi, 

Qui si pBiri la tua nobilitate. 
Io cominciai: 'Pocta che mi guidi, 10 

Guarda la mia virtfl, s' ella 6 possente. 

Prima che all' alto passo tu mi fidi. 

On the first lines of these terzine, as we have already noted, 
are the following marginal letters: 



Read: l'omo id 

Dante is here associated, in his descent into Hell, as I 
suggested in Chapter II, with the dying day. 

Note now on the three lines of the third terzina, within 
which the 10 viDi appears, the following marginal letters: 

7 o M 

8 o 

9 QUI 

Read: omo qui 

This acrostic repeats in effect the acrostic on the ten-line 
frame, and says that the "Man" is here in the very terzina 
which contains 10 vidi. 

In addition to the acrostics in this passage there is a 
telestic which even more precisely identifies 10 vidi with 
Dante. This telestic appears on lines 3-8. Notice, in con- 
nection with these lines, that the first contains the words 
Ed iOi which, as I shall show later, are another cryptographic 
guise of Dante, and that the last line contains the 10 vidi. 
The telestic on these lines appears in the following telestic 
letters: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE UNIVERSAL FORM 



Read: lo era dante 

This telestic: lo era dante, reading as it does with the di 
of to oidi, associates lo vidi with Dante. 

The third time that the words lo vidi appear in the Divina 
Commedia, and the first time that they appear at the be- 
ginning of a line, is in /»/. iv. I2i: 

Id vidi Elettra con moiti compagni. 

This line falls within the five terzine. Inf. iv. 1 18-132: 

CoU diritto sopra il verde smalto 118 

Mi fitr mostrati gli spirid magni, 

Che del vederli in me stesso n' esalto. 
lo vidi Elettra con molt! compaj^i, lai 

Tra' quai conobbi Ettore ed rfnea, 

Cesare armato con gli occhi grifagni. 
Vidi Cammilla e la Pentesilea, 134 

Dair altra parte vidi il re Latino 

Che con Lavinia sua figlia sedea. 
Vidi quel Bruto chc cacci6 Tarquino, 137 

Lucrezia, Julia, Marzia e Comtglia, 

E solo in parte vidi il Saladino. 
Poi che innalzai un poco piit le ciglia, 130 

Vidi il Maestro di color che sanno 

Seder tra filosofica famiglia. 

Notice first that the lo vidi at the beginning of the ter- 
^na 121-123 is followed by a f^idi at the beginning of each 
of the next two ter2ine. Such a symmetrical repetition of 
a word is often used by Dante as a hint of the presence of a 
cryptc^am. Consider now the following marginal letters 
of the first lines of the five terzine: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



144 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

iiS CO 



127 V 
130 POI 

Read: copio v, v, i. 

V, V, and 1 correspond, in Roman notation, to 5, 5, and i> 
so that they yield the integers of the cryptic number 515. 
In saying thus in this acrostic in connection with the words 
lo mdi that "I copy 515," Dante may be understood to 
indicate the association of himself with the cryptic number 
and the "universal form," 10 vidi. 

That Dante is indeed making a cryptc^raphic reference to 
himself appears not only from the cryptographic use which 
he makes of the proper names (see p. 445), but also from the 
acrostic on the first lines of the remaining terzine of the canto. 

The terzine immediately following the terzine on which we 
find the acrostic; copio v, v, i, read as follows: 

Tutti lo miran, tutti onor gli fanno. 133 

euivi vid' io Socrate e ^atone, 
he innanzi agli altri piil presso gli stanno. 
Democrito, che il mondo a caso pone, 136 

Diogenes, Anassagora e Tale, 

Empedocles, Eraclito e Zenone: 
E vidi il buono accoglitor del quale, 139 

Dioscoride dico: e vidi Orfeo, 

Tullio e Lino e Seneca morale: 
Euclide geometra e Tolommeo, I42 

Ippocrate, Avicenna e Galieno, 

Averrois, che il gran commento feo. 
Io non posso ritrar di tutti appieno; 145 

Perocchi si mi caccia il lungo tema, 

Che molte volte al fatto il air vien meno. 
La sesta compagnia in due si scema: 148 

Per altra via mi mena il savio duca, 

Fuor della queta nell' aura che trema; 
E vengo in parte ove non % che luca. 151 

Consider the following mai^nal letters on the first lines of 
these terzine: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE UNIVERSAL FORM 



133 


T 


136 


D 


139 


E 


14a 


E 


MS 


10 N 


148 


LA S 



Read: dante e elios 

The last word of the canto is luca, and the r^on described 
in the passage on which the acrostic appears is one 

Ch' emisperio di tenebre vincia. 

— Inf. IV. 69 

Dante is here again associated with the sun as his symbol. 
For another acrostic euos see page 349. For the cryptograms 
in connection with the last instance of the use of lo vidi^ 
Par. xxxiii. 122, see pages 106-8. 

lo viDi is frequently used in the Divina Commedia as a 
cryptogram for dante to indicate the presence of other 
cryptographic devices in the text. The appearance of 10 vidi 
at the beginning of a line, or in the interior of a line, is often 
the hint that the text is speaking in a hidden way of Dante 
himself. 

ED 10 

The next cryptographic guise of dante to which I wish to 
call attention is the words ed 10. By the system already 
shown of alphabetical and numerical equivalents, these words 
may be transmuted into other the "universal form," 10 vidi, 
or DANTE. In other words, ed id, as a symbol, has the value of 
the cryptic number, five hundred, ten, and five. This numeri- 
cal value appears as follows: 

E, as the fifth letter = 5 
D, in Roman notation = 500 
10, in Arabic notation = 10 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



146 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

The use of ed lo at the beginning of a terana, like the 
similar use of lo tidi, is ft^uent in the DhitiM Commedta. 
This use is not accidental to the literal meaning of the poem; 
it is often meant to have a cryptic reference to Dante himself 
and to indicate the [Mvsence of other c ry p tog rams in the text. 
And indeed, quite apart from the numerical value of ed io 
as a 515, the words suggest the name of Dante in the follow- 
ing obvious way: 10, D. . .E, or"I, Dante," the name dante 
being suggested by the common convention of indicating a 
proper name by its Arst and last letters. 

Dante's use of the words ed 10 as a cryptogram for dante 
is fijrther determined, I believe, by the fact that the same 
letters in the same order may be read: E dio. In view of the 
identification, so fiindamentaJ in xUtDicitiM Comnudiey which 
Dante makcsof himself with God, he may surely be suspected 
of having wished to suggest the punning ED 10, e dio. In 
other words, he expresses by this cryptographic device the 
symbolism of the poem that Dante, by virtue of his divine 
nature, is God. 

Let me now cite several instances of the use of ed 10 as a 
cryptt^raphic device for dakte. 

The four ter^ne, Purg. adv. 16-27, ***- 

Ed io: ' Per mezza Toscana d spazia 16 

Un fiumicd che nasce in Falterona, 

E cento mi^a di cono nol sazia. 
Di sopr* csso rech' io quests persona: 19 

Dirvi ch' 10 sia, saria pariare indanra; 

Chi il n<Hne mio ancor nx^to ntMi suiMia.* 
'Se ben lo intendimento tuo accamo zx 

Con lo intdlccto,' allora mi lispose 

Quei che diceva pria, 'tu parii d* Aroo-' 
E r altro disse a lui: ' Perche nascose 25 

Questi il vocabol di qudla riviera. 

Pur com' uom fa dell orribili cose?' 



Con^der the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
these four teizine: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE UNIVERSAL FORM 147 

16 ED 10 
19 DI S 
32 S 

Read: "ed 10," disse 

"He said: ed 10," is the answer to the question in the text. 
The passj^jc is a play on the idea of name, identification, and 
concealment. Dante is answering the question who he is; he 
says it were vain for him to tell who he is, for as yet his name 
does not make much noise. He does not even name the Amo, 
but defines its position and leaves it to his questioner to 
penetrate his meaning. In the hteral meaning of the text, 
therefore, he avoids giving his name. But the question thus 
left unanswered is answered in the acrostic: "ed jo," disse. 

In Par. xxxiii. 28-39, Bernardo is praying that a way may 
be found for Dante to see God. The four terzinelare: 

Ed io, che mai per mio veder non arsi 28 

Piti ch' io fo per lo suo, tutti i miei preghi 

Ti porgo, e prego che non sieno scarsi, 
Perch^ tu ogni nuoe gli disleghi 31 

Di sua mortality coi preehi tuoi, 

SI che il sommo placer gli si dispieghi. 
Ancor ti prego, Regina, one puoi 34 

Cit> che tu vuoli, che conservi sani, 

Dope tanto veder, gli aifetti suoi. 
Vinca tua guardia i movimenti umani: 37 

Vedi Beatrice con quanti Beati 

Per li miei preghi ti chtudon le mani.' 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
these four terzine: 



a8 


ED 10 


31 


PER 


34 


A 


37 


VI 


Read: VIA 


PER "e 



The words of the acrostic are in effect a repetition of thr 
prayer of Bernardo for a "way for Dante." 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



148 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

The following passage, Inf. xv. 12-33, consists of four 
terzine: 

Cosl adocchiato da cotal famiglia, 22 

Fui conosciuto da un, che mi prese 
Per lo lembo e gnd6: 'Qual maraviglia?' 

Ed io, <}uando il suo braccio a me distese, 25 
Ficcai eli occhi per lo cotto aspetto 
SI che u viso aboruciato non difcse 

La conoscenza sua al mio intelletto; 28 

£ chinando la mia alia sua faccia, 
Risposi: 'Siete voi qui, ser Bninettof 

E queKli: 'O fiKliuol mio, non ti dispiaccia 31 
Se Bninetto Latini un poco teco 
Ritoma indietro, e lasaa andar la traccia.' 

Consider the following mai^nal letters of the first lines of 
these terzine: 



Read: cela ed 10 

The following passage consists of the first four terzine of 
Purg. xviii: 

Posto avea fine al suo ragionamento 

L' alto Dotcore, ed attenco guardava 

Nella mia vista s' io parea contento: 
Ed io, cui nuova sete ancor fnigava, 4 

Di fuor taceva, e dentro dicea: 'Forse 

Lo troppo domandar, ch' io fo, gli grava.' 
Ma quel padre verace, che s' accorse 7 

Del timido voler che non s' apriva, 

Parlando, di padare ardir mi porse. 
Ond' io: 'Maestro, il mio veder s' awiva 10 

SI nel tuo lume, ch' io discemo chiaro 

Quanto la tua ragion porti o descriva : 

Consider the following matpnal letters of the first lines of 
these four tu^ine: 



Di!,tizedOyGoO<^lc 



THE UNIVERSAL FORM 



Read: poema, signed with the device of Dante, ed io. 

The signature thus attached to the poem is confirmed by 
the acrostic reading of the first four lines of this passive. 
Consider the following marginal letters of these four lines: 



3 NELL 

4 ED 10 

Read downwards: posto l'anell: " ed io." This may mean 
that ED IO, as Dante's signature, is the "seal set." 

The following passage, Purg. xxvi. 103-1 14, consists of 
four terzine: 

Poich% a riguardar pasciuto fui, 103 

Tutto m' offersi pronto al suo servi^io, 

Con I' afFertnar cne fa credere altrui. 
Ed egli a me: 'Tu lasci tal vestigio, 106 

Per quel ch' i' odo, in me e tanto chiaro, 

Che Lete nol pu& tor, n^ fado bigio. 
Ma se le tue parole or ver giuraro, 109 

Dimmi che i cagion per cbe dimostri 

Nel dire e nel guardare avermi caro?' 
Ed to a lui: 'Li dolci detti vostri 112 

Che, quanto durer^ I* uso modemo, 

Faranno can ancora i loro inchiostri.' 

Consider on the first lines of these four terzine the following 
marginal letters: 
103 PO 
106 E 
109 MA 
113 ED 10 

Read: poema. ed id 

The poema is signed by the cryptic signature. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



ISO THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

The following passage, Purg. xxiv., 49-54, consists of two 
terzine: 

Ma di' s' io veggio c|ui colui che fuore 49 

Trasse le nuove rime, comindando: 

Donne, ck' avete inUlUllo £ Amore.' 
Ed io a lui: 'Io mi son un che, quando 52 

Amor mi spira, noto, ed a quel modo 

Che ditta aentro, vo significando/ 

Line 51 is a quotation from one of Dante's canzont. On all 
the lines of the two terzine consider the following marginal 
letters: 

49 HA 

50 TR 

51 DO 
S3 ED I 

53 A 

54 c 

Read: marco di dante 

The MARCO di dakte seems to be the line quoted from his 
canzone, which is followed immediately by his signature: 

ED ID. 

The following passage. Inf. xi, 61-72, consists of four 
terzine : 

Per r altro modo quell' amor s' obblia 61 

Che fa natura, e quel ch' d pot aggiunto, 
Di che la fede spe^al si cria: 

Onde nel cerchio minore, ov' k il punto 64 

Deir universo, in su che Dite siede, 
(^ualunque trade in eterno ^ consunto.' 

Ed 10: 'Maestro, assai chiaro procede 67 

La Cua ragione, ed assai ben distingue 
Questo baratro e il popol che il possiede. 

Ma dimmi: C^uei della palude pingue, 70 

Che mena il vento, e che batte la pit^gia, 
E che s' incontran con sA aspre lingue. 

Consider the following marginal letters on the 6rst lines of 
these terzine: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE UNIVERSAL FORM iji 

' 6i P 
64 o 

67 E 
70 HA 

Read: poema 

POEMA is signed, line 67, by the acrostic words: ed 10. 

The first time that the words Ed to appear in the Dhina 
Commedia is in Inf. i. 130: 

Ed io a lui: PoeCa, io ti richie^o. 

This line Hes within the last four terzine of the canto: 

In tutte parti itapKtA, e quivi regge, 137 

Quivi I la sua dtxk 1 1 alto seggio: 

O felice colui cui ivi degge!' 
Ed io a lui: 'PoeCa, 10 ti nchieggio 130 

Per quello Dio che tu non conoscesti, 

Acciocch' io fugga questo male e peggio 
Che tu mi meni 14 dov' or dlcesti, 133 

SI ch' io vegga la porta di san Pietro, 

E color cui tu fai cotanto mesti.' 
Allor si mosse, ed io li tenni retro. 136 

On the first lines of these four terzine we have already 
seen, pages 40-1, the acrostic: e ihdica. In showing this 
acrostic I said that I was obliged to defer showing the full 
cryptographic content of the passage to a later chapter. 
Let us consider now, therefore, the following marginal letters 
of the lines immediately before and after the Ed to: 
127 I 



133 c 
Read: capo qui: ed 10 

This acrostic capo recalls the capo in the acrostic that 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



152 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

appears in the passage that contains the words La forma uni- 
versal. Par. xxxiii. 91, in connection with the words to vidu 
Now consider the following marginal letters on all the lines: 



133 c 

134 3 

136 A 

Read: capo esce qui. dante 

Da, as the initials of Uante Aldighiero, di, as the spelled 
form of the initial d of Dante, and ed, as an abbreviation of 
ED 10, seem to be frequently used as symbols of Dante's 
name. This use of ed is determined in part, I think, by the 
fact that ed is a copulative conjunction. It expresses thus, 
as a copulative, the phallic symbolism of Dante himself in 
the theme of rebirth as developed in the Divina Commedia. 

The following passage, Inf. xxv. 28-36, consists of three 
terzine: 

Non va co' suoi fratei per un cammino, 28 

Per lo furar che frodolente fece 
Del grande armcnto ch' e^i ebbe a vicino: 

Ondc cessar le sue opere biece 31 

Sotto la mazza d' brcole, che forse 
Gliene di% cento, e non sentl le diece.' 

Mentre che si parlava, ed ei trascorse, 34 

E tre spirit! venner sotto noi, 
De' quai n% io nl il Duca mio s' accorse. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
the three terzine: 



31 o 
34 M 
Read: home 



!dOyGoO(^lc 



THE UNIVERSAL FORM 153 

The initials of the last two lines of the passage are: 

35 E 

36 D 
Read: ed 

So that the complete reading on the passage is: nome ed. 
Following are the last ten lines of Par. iii: 

Cogl parlommi, e poi cominci6: Ave, 121 

Maria, cantando; e cantando vanio. 

Come per acqua cupa cosa grave. 
La vista mia, che tanto la s^uio 124 

Quanto posGibil fu, poi che la perse, 

Volsesi al segno di maggior disio, 
Ed a Beatrice tutta si converse; 127 

Ma quella folgorft nelto tnio sniardo 

Si che da prima il viso non sofferse; 
E ciik mi fece a domandar piii tardo. 130 

Consider the following marginal letters of the last line of 
the canto and of the first lines of the three preceding terzine: 



130 E 

Read: cela ed 

The following passage, Par. vii. 76-87, consists of four 
terune: 

Di tutte queste cose s' avvantaggia 76 

L* umana creatura, e s' una manca, 

Di sua nobiliti convien che caggia. 
Solo il peccato h quel che la disfranca, 79 

E falla dissimile al Sommo Bene, 

Perch^ del lume suo poco s' imbianca; 
Ed in sua dignJti mai non riviene, 8z 

Se non riemple dove colpa vota, 

Contra mal ditettar con giuste pene. 
Vostra natura, quando pecc6 tola 85 

Nei seme suo, da queste dignitadi, 

Come da Paradiso, fu remota; 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



154 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
the four terzine: 





76 


D 




79 


SOL 




82 


E 




85 


VO 


Read 


SOLVO ED 



The following pass^e. Par. xxvi. 13-24, consists of four 
terzine: 

lo dissi: 'Al suo piacere e tosto e tardo 13 

Vegna rimedio agli occhi che fur porte, 

Quand' ella entr6 col foco ond' io sempr' ardo. 
Lo ben che fa contenta questa corte, 16 

Alfa ed O % di quanta scrittura 

Mi legge amore, o lievemente o forte.' 
Quetia medesma voce, che paura 19 

Tolta m' avea del subito abbarbaglio, 

Di ragionare ancor mi mise in cura; 
E disse: 'Certo a pib angusto vaglio 22 

Ti conviene schiarar; dicer convienti 

Chi drizzd I' arco tuo a tal bersaglio.' 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of . 
the terzine; 



Read: loqvi ed 

There is a hint in the words scrittura mi legge, 17-18. For 
the reading of Alfa ed 0, see page 444. 

The following passage, Inf. xxxiv, 118-129, consists of 
four terzine: 



Qui h da man quando di Ik h sera: 
E questi che ne fe' scala col pelo, 
Fitto i ancora, si come prim era. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE UNIVERSAL FORM iJS 

Da questa parte cadde giil dal cielo: 121 

E la terra che pria di qua si sporse 
Per paura di lui fe* del mar veto, 

E venne all' emisperio nostro; e forse 124 

Per fuggir lui lasci& qui il loco voto 
Quella che appar di qua, e su ncorse.' 

Loco h laggiil da Belzebil remoto 127 

Tanto, quanto la tomba si distende, 
Che non per vista, ma per suono i noto 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
the four terzine; 

118 QUI 



134 E 
137 LO 

Read: loqui ed 
Note the suggestive veio in line 123. 

DIL 

I mentioned in Chapter I the curious way in which the 
letters D, I, and l appear in Par. xviii, apart from their con- 
text, as the first letters in the sentence: Di/igite tustitiam qui 
iudieatis terram. These letters, dil, form another of the 
cryptc^aphic guises of Dante. 

D, in Roman notation = 500 

I, in Roman notation = i 

L, in Roman notation = 50 
If we disr^ard the zeroes, these numbers give the int^;ers 
5, I, and 5, the integers of the cryptic dxv, and may accord- 
ingly be transmuted into the name of dante. 

This interpretation of dil as a cryptc^aphic device for 
DANTE is confirmed by other cryptographic devices to be 
found in the same passage. The passage in which Dante 
speaks of seeing the cryptic letters begins, line 70, with the 
significant 10 vidi, and continues for four terzine, as follows: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



IS6 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

lo vidi in auelU novial facelU 70 

Lo sfavillar dell' amor che 11 era, 

Segnare aeli occhi miei nostra favella. 
E come augelli surti di riviera, 73 

Quasi congratulando a lor pasture, 

Fanno di s% or tonda or altra schiera, 
SI dentro ai lumi tante creature 76 - 

Volitando cantavano, e faciensi 

Or D, or I, or L, in sue figure. 
Prima cantando a sua nota moviensi; 79 

Poi, diventando I' un di questi segni, 

Un poco s' arrestavano e taciensi. 

Consider the following marginal tetters on the first lines of 
these four terzine: 

70 10 VIDl 

73 E COM 

76 SI 
79 PR 

Read: COHPRESI "10 vidi" 

Thus in connection with the cryptic letters d, i, and L> 
mentioned in the text, Dante says in the acrostic: "I under- 
stood 10 VIDI." In other words, he says in the acrostic that he 
understood 10 vidi, that is, dante, when he saw dil. 

The four terzine that follow the passage just quoted con- 
tain further cryptographic proof that dil is a guise of dahte. 
These four terzine. Par. xviii. 82-93, "Wch include an 
invocation to Pegasus, read as follows: 

O diva Pe^asea, che gl* ingegni 8z 

Fai glonosi, e rendili longevi, 

Ed essi teco le cittadi e i regni, 
Illustrami di te, si ch' io rilevi 85 

Le lor figure com' io 1' ho concette; 

Paia tua possa in questi versi brevi. 
Mostrarsi dunque in cinaue volte sette 88 

Vocali e consonant! ; ca io notai 

Le parti s! come mi parver dette. 
Diligite iustitiamf primai 91 

Fur verbo e nome di tutto II dipitito; 

Qui iudicattj terram, fur sezzai. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE UNIVERSAL FORM 157 

Consider the following mai^nal letters on the first lines of 
these four terzine: 
82 o 
8S I 



Read: dimostro 

Notice that the first line of the passage on which this 
acrostic is found b^ins with the letters: o div. These letters 
are in themselves the "universal form": 10 v-d. Notice also 
the word ingegni, a word which Dante frequently uses in 
connection with cryptographic devices. 

The acrostic dimostro may refer to what Dante says, line 
88, of the whole sentence of which dil is the beginning. This 
sentence, he tells us, is composed of vowels and consonants 
"five times seven." Now what can be the reason for his thus 
indicating the exact number of the letters ? 

I suggest that the reason is simply that the number offers 
another means of identifying himself with what he describes 
himself as seeing. " Five times seven " is thirty-five, the age, 
as is well known, which Dante ascribes to himself at the time 
of his "vision." His vision came to him, as he tells us in Inf. 
i, nel mrszo del cammin di nostra vita. In the Convivio he 
elaborates the psalmist's idea of the length of the life of man 
as seventy years, the mazo of which is thirty-five. This age, 
morever, is really an approximation to the age of Christ, ac- 
cording to medieval computations, at the time of his cruci- 
fixion. Thus Christ and Dante may be considered to have 
descended into Hell at the same age, a coincidence which I 
believe Dante intended as a further indication of his iden- 
tity with Christ. At any rate, the "thirty-five" of the letters 
in the sentence beginning with dil further identifies the dil 
as a guise of Dante. 

The cryptic play on the letters of this sentence of thirty- 
five letters is continued in what Dante says about the letter 
M with which the sentence ends. This M is metamorphosed, 
first, into a fleur-de-lys and then into an eagle which utters 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



158 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

some of the most cryptic sentences of the whole Dioina 
Commedia. I shall have to postpone to the chapter on the 
Symbolic Guises of Dante the explanation of the meaning of 
this M and of the e^le into which it changes. 

Another proof that dil is indeed a cryptt^aphic guise 

of Dante is contained in the passage itself in which tne cryptic 

letters are mentioned. This proof consists of various interior 

- sequences spelling the name of Dante. Consider the following: 

71 lo sfavlllar dell 'amor che 11 erA 

72 segnare agll ocohl oiel nosTra favella 

73 e come augelll surtl Dl rlvlera 

74 quasi congratulaNdo a lor pasture 

75 fanno dl sE or tonda or altra schlera 

Read A of era, 71; t of nostra, 72; d of di, 73; second n of 
cottgratulanJo, 74; e of se, 75: dante. 

This sequence is not quite r^ular by count, but it is 
straight to the eye, and it is confirmed by the sense of the 
words on which it ends,/«nno di si. The lights of the spirits 
"make of themselves," according to the text, dil; they like- 
wise make dante. 

The next six lines are: 

76 si dentro ai luml sanTE creature 

77 volltando cAHtavano e faciensl 

78 or D or 1 or 1 In sue figure 

79 prima cAatando a sua nota moviensi 

80 poi diventaNdo I'un di quest! segnl 

81 un poco 3 ' arresTavano e taoiensi 

Read TE of sante, 76; first an of cantavano, 77; d, 78: 
dante. 

Read the same o, 78; first a of cantando, 79; second n of 
dioentando, 80; t of arrestavano, 81: dant. This sequence 
starts on the fourth space of line 78, and the other letters are 
on the eighth, twelfth and sixteenth spaces of the respective 
lines. 

A few lines below is another sequence: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE UNIVERSAL FORM 159 

86 IE lor figure com'io I'ho concette 

87 paia Tua possa in questl vers! brevi 

88 mostrarsi Dunque in cinque volte sette 

89 vooall e consoNAnti M io notai 

Read e of /<>, 86; t of tua, 87; d of dunque, 88; ha of 
eonsonantit 89: dakte. 

The four sequences in the passage treating of the cryptic 
letters confirm the identification ofDiL as a guise of Dante 
and as a variation of t\ic forma universal. 

The meaning which I have thus established for dil wilt 
prove illuminating in the interpretation of the obscure 
passage in the opening of Par. vii, where Dante refers to 
Beatrice as be and ice. In this passage he uses three times 
the form dille. The repetition^ as I shall show, page 350, is 
intended to convey a reference to the cryptic meaning of dil 
as Dante. 



One of the enigmatic passages to which I referred in 
Chapter I is Par. xix. 115-141, which reads as follows: 

Ll si vedri tra i' opere d' Alberto 115 

Qudla che tosto moveri la penna, . 

Per che il regno di Praga fia deserto. 
Ll Bi vedri il duol che sopra Senna 118 

Induce, falseggiando la moneta, ' 

Quei che morri di colpo di cotenna. 
L! si vedri la superbia en' asseta, 121 

Che fa \o Scotto e 1' Inghilese folle, 

S! che non pu6 soffrir dentro a sua meta. 
Vedrassi la lussuria e il viver moiie 124 

Di quel di Spagna, e di quel di Buemme, 

Che nnai valor non conobbe, ah voile. 
Vedrassi al Ciotto di Jerusalemme 127 

Segnata con un I la sua bontate, 

Quando il contrario segneri un emme. 
Veorassi I' avarizia e ia viltate 130 

Di quel che guarda 1' isola del foco, 

Dove Anchise finl la lunga etate; 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



i6o THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Ed a dare ad intender quanto h poco, 133 

La sua scrittura fien lettere mozze, 

Che noteranno tnolto in parvo loco. 
E parranno a ciascuA 1' opere sozze 136 

Del barba e del fratel, che tanto egregia 

Nazione, e due corone ban fatte bozze. 
E quel di Portogallo, e di Norvegia 139 

LI si conosceranno, e quel di Rascia 

Che mal ha visto il conio di Vinegia. 

Of the nine terzine of this passage the first three benn with 
the letter l, the second three with the letter v, and me third 
three with the letter e. And the same letters are repeated in 
the ninth terzina in a curious way, the first line banning 
with E, the second with l, and the third showing a v, not as 
the initial of the tine, but as the initial of the last word of the 
line. The repeated initials of the terzine make, therefore, the 
following figure: 



The last terzina repeats these letters in the following way: 



This artificial symmetry recalls that of the passage in Purg. 
xii. 25-63, in which the acrostic vom has long been recognized. 
1 know of no recognition, however, that the initials of the 
terzine of the present passage, rearranged, make an acrostic 
VEL, or "veil." 

This VEL is another of the cryptographic guises of dante. 
It may be transmuted either into the "universal form" of his 



Di!,tizedOyGoO<^lc 



THE UNIVERSAL FORM i6i 

name or into his name itself by the method already described 
of transmuting the letters involved into numerical equiva- 
lents that have for their int^ers, the zeroes being dis- 
rc^rded, a five, a one, and a five. The transmutation of vel 
into these integers is made as follows: 

V, in Roman notation = S 

E, as fifth letter of the alphabet » 5 
L, as tenth letter of the alphabet = 10 

L is the tenth letter of the Italian alphabet, as the ItaUan 
alphabet has neither j nor k. 

The determinants for adopting vel as one of the crypto- 
graphic guises of the name dante cannot have been merely 
the possibility of this numerical correspondence. The sense of 
the word itself is profoundly significant of the character 
which Dante ascribes to himself in the Divina Commedia. As 
man he is the veil of the divine nature which the human 
nature covers over. I conjecture, moreover, that Dante was 
not insensible to the punning value of the word vel, which in 
Latin means either and or. In his identification of himself with 
the divine nature Dante is either God or man. That Dante 
had some cryptic idea connected with vel appears, indeed, 
in the use which he constantly makes of the word in the 
manifest meaning of the poem. In Inf. ix. 61 and 63, he says: 

Mirate la dottrina che s'asconde 
Sotto il velame degli versi stranil 

Scattered throughout the poem are many similar references 
to the veil as a hiding place of something crypric. 

The passage. Par. xix. 1 15-141, in which I have shown the 
acrostic vel, contains one of the clearest references in the 
whole Divina Commedia to the devices of cryptography. 
This reference, on which I have already commented, appears 
in lines 133-135: 

Ed a dare ad intender quanto h poco, 

La aua scrittura fien lettere mozze, 

Che noteranno molto in parvo toco. 

The scrittura, as I explained in Chapter I, is in "letters cut 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



i6i THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

off" from the context, exactly as in acrostics and interior 
sequences, and indeed, in many other methods of crypto- 
graphy. 

That the acrostic vel that is found in this passage is indeed 
a cryptographic guise of dante, transmutable from the 
universal form lo vidi, is proved by the various crypto- 
graphic signatures of dante which the passage contains. 

Note first the following marginal letters of lines 130-133: 

130 VE 

131 DI 
13a D 
133 E 

Read: vedi d. . .e 

Notice, moreover, line 133, the sounds that suggest vaguely 
the name of Dante. This sort of su^estion Dante frequently 
employs as a means of calling attention to a more precise 
way by which his name is hidden in the same passage. 

In line 132, the line following the acrostic vedi just shown, 
the name dante is spelled by the "string" cipher device 
which we have seen tn Chapter III, p. 71 . I have capitalized 
the letters of the signature, thus: 

132 Dove ANchlse flnl la lunga eTatE 

In this passage, as if confirming the cryptographic hint in 
/fttere mozze, is also an interior sequence, which may be 
shown thus: 

132 dove anchlsE fini la limga etate 

133 ed a dare aD intender quanto e poco 

134 la sua scrlTtura flen letters mozze 

135 che noteranNo Bolto In parvo loco 

136 e parranno A clascun I'opere sozze 

Read in a vertical line from e oianchtse, 132; D oiad, 133, 
first T of scrittttra, 134; third n of noteranno, 135; A, 136: 
DANTE. This reading b^ns on the line which contains the 
string cipher and runs through the passage which we have 
already noticed as a hint of a cryptographic device. Follow- 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE UNIVERSAL FORM 163 

ing the s of this signature, 135, are the letters o mol, which 
spell backward: l'omo, "the man." 

But the most surprising signature in the passage containing 
the acrostic vel is a double signature in the form of a cross. 
And this double signature is surprising in spite of the fact 
that it is most precisely indicated by the literal meaning of 
the text. It will clarify one of the obscure passages of the 
Divina Commedta. 

The double signature in the form of a cross to which I refer 
appears in connection with the ciotto di Jerusalemme. This 
' cripple of Jerusalem" is generally supposed to have been 
Charles 11, king of Naples and titular king of Jerusalem. It is 
said of him here, tines 127-128, that his goodness shall be 
signed with an i, while an m shall sign the contrary. These 
obscure words are supposed to mean that his virtues shall be 
signed, or marked, with a one, the i being taken for one in the 
Roman notation; and that a thousand, the m being taken for 
a thousand in the Roman notation, shall sign, or mark, his 
rices. In other words, Dante is supposed to be saying that 
this king had one virtue and a thousand vices. 

Long before I discovered the cryptographic character of 
the Divina Commedta, I came to the conclusion that it is 
not Charles II of Naples, but the Christ-like, or Christ- 
likened, Dante himself who is here indicated. My conclusion 
is verified by the following interior sequences: 

124 vedrassi La lussuria e 11 vlver mollE 

125 Dl quel dl spagna e dl quel Di buemme 

126 che mai vAlor non coNobbe ne voile 

127 vedrassi al cIOtTo di jerusalemme 

128 segnaTA con un i la sua boNtate 

129 quando 11 contrarlo segnera un emnE 

Read e of tno//«, 124; D oi dt, 125; K oi conobbe, 126; 10 of 
ciottOt 127; TA of segnata, 128: 10 dawte. 

Read D, initial of 125; a of va/oTy 126; second t of ciotto, 
127; N of bontate, 128; second e of emme^ 129: dante. 

Since this signature terminates on ^mfflf, an m signs it, just 
as the 1 in lo signs dante in the other sequence. Thus Dante, 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



i64 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

like the ciotto, is signed with an i and an m; these letters 
spell HI. Both signatures run through ciotto, the center of 
the cross which they form. 

The tetters i and m with which dante is thus signed and 
which spell MI may have a further cryptic meaning, indi- 
cating the dual character of Dante as both human and 
divine. The m is, as we have already seen, the symbol of 
man; and the i, both as the initial of lesu and also as a one 
and therefore as an a (see p. 443) is the symbol of Christ. 

The meaning of the passage now becomes clear. The 
reference to Charles of Naples may indeed have been in- 
tended by Dante in the sense that the commentators say; 
but if so, only as the veriest screen or, trompe ^ceil, for his 
deeper meaning. The real ciotto of Jerusalem was Christ, 
who was crucified there. It is apparent, therefore, that tn the 
present cryptographic device Dante is identifying himself 
with Christ by putting himself on the cross of Christ. 

In connection with the transmutability of vel into the 
universal form of dante: 10 vmi, by way of the figures 5, 
I, and 5, the forgoing signatures that appear in the passage 
that shows the acrostic vel are sufficient proof, I think, that 
VEL is a cryptographic guise of dante. 



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Chapter VI 
SYMBOLIC GUISES 



DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc 



DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc 



Chapter VI 
SYMBOLIC GUISES 



npHE cryptographic transmutations of Dante as a name 
-^ are not the only guises in which he hides himself in the 
Divina Commedia; he hides himself also, as I shall show in 
the present chapter, in various symbolic guises. 



PHCENIX 

The first of the symbolic guises of Dante to which I wish 
to call attention is the Phcenix, mentioned in Inf. xxiv. 
This mythical bird was supposed to burn itself, when it 
reached its five hundredth year, on a pyre of incense, and to 
rise again from its own ashes in the shape of a small worm, 
which on the third day thereafter developed into the full 
grown bird. There was only one Phcenix, and its rebirth 
was accomplished without intercourse with a mate. 

The Phcenix, as an example of rebirth, was widely 
adopted in the middle ages as a symbol of Christ. The de- 
tail of its rebirth as a worm that developed into the full 
grown bird in three days corresponds, obviously, to the story 
of the rebirth of Christ, who after the crucifixion descended 
into Hell and remained there three days before ascending 
into Heaven. 

In the passage in which Dante mentions the Phcenix he 
compares to its transformations the transformations of a 
robber who is burned to ashes before his eyes and then re- . 
turns to his human shape. The passage, which includes 
seven terzine, reads as follows: 

[167] 



168 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Tra quesU cnida e tristissiina copia 91 

Correvan gend nude e spavetitate, 

Senza sperar pcrtugio o ditropia. 
Can serpi te man dletro avean tqate: 94 

Quelle ficcavan per le ren la coda 

E il capo, ed eran dinanzi aggroppate. 
Ed ecco ad un, ch* era da nostra proda, 97 

S' awentd un serpente, che il trafisse 

L& dove il collo alle spalle s' annoda. 
N6 O ^ tosto mu, nd I n scrisse, 100 

Com' ei s' acccse ed arse, e ccner tutto 

Convennc che cascando divenisse: 
E poi che fa a terra A distrutto, 103 

La polver si raccolse per sd stessa, 

E in quel medesmo ritomd di butto: 
Co^ per li gran savi si confessa, tog 

Che la Fenice more e poi rinasce, 

Quando al cinquecentesimo anno appressa. 
Erba nb biado in sua vita non pasce, 109 

Ma sot d' incenso lagrime ed amomo; 

E nardo e mirra son I' ultime fasce. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines 
of these seven terzine: 



ED ECCO AD 



Read: ecco ed! ecco dahte! 

The ED of this acrostic is, as we have already seen, a 
cryptographic device for dante. So that the whole acrostic 
reads in effect: "Lo, Dante! Lo, Dante!" The fact that 
Dante is thus named twice is appropriate to the rebirth sym- 
bolism of the passage. His name appears in two forms as 
the robber appears in two forms, and as the Phoenix appears 
in two forms. The two forms of the name, ed and dante, 
suggest the appearances of Dante before and after the sym- 
bolized rebirth. 



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SYMBOLIC GUISES 169 

This acrostic is not the only crypt(^raphic device in the 
passage which identifies the Phcenix with Dante. Line 100 
reads: 

Ni O si tosto mu, nb I si scrisse. 

The mention of the letters o and i in this line is generally 
considered as merely the means of comparing the speed of 
the described transformations with the speed with which 
these particular letters may be written. But Dante is not 
here dealing with the merely obvious; he is using the letters 
of the comparison to spell, backwards, 10 or "i", thus again 
indicating that he is speaking of himself in speaking of the 
robber and the Phoenix, The use of the o and the 1 in this 
pass^e to spell 10 is analc^ous to the use, in the pass^e 
describing the ciotto, of i and m to spell mi (see pp. 163-4). 

This cryptc^raphtc use of the letters o and i appears on 
line 100, and 100 in its first two digits, gives the same read- 
ing: 10. 

The number ten, which thus appears twice in the same 
line, was considered in the number symbolism of the Middle 
Ages, I believe, as appropriate to Christ, both because ten, 
in its form in the Roman notation, is a cross, and also 
because it is the number which follows nine, nine being, 
as three times three, the symbol of the operation of Trinity 
upon itself. The ten then, as the number following the 
nine of the operation of Trinity upon itself, was taken as 
the symbol of the humanly incarnated son of the Trinity, 
who proceeded from this operation, as in rebirth. For the 
development in the ^ita Nuooa of this idea of the Trinity as 
multiplied by itself, see pages 341-3. 

There is another cryptc^aphic use of the letters o and i 
as a ten. In line 108 the age at about which the Phcenix is 
reborn is designated as five hundred. There thus appear 
here in connection with the Phoenix the five hundred and 
the ten of the cryptic number of the dxv, a five hundred, a 
ten, and a five. In the light of this coincidence it is not 
surprising to find that there is also a, five concealed in the 
present passage dealing with the robber and the Phoenix. 



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170 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 
It is said, line 94, of the shades whom Dante is viewing that 
Con serpi le man dietro avean legate. 

The robber who is here described as undergoing the remark- 
able transformation from human shape to ashes and from 
ashes to human shape has, therefore, like his companions, 
his hands tied behind his back. With his hands thus tied, 
his arms, perforce, make the shape of a v, or five. There 
thus appears in this passage the complete cryptic number, 
a five hundred, a ten, and a five. This number identifies 
the Phoenix with the prophesied dvx, and so tc^ther with the 
acrostic: Ecco ed! ecco dante!, with Dante himself. 

There are several hints in the passage of a crypti^raphic 
character. The initials of the final terzina are: 
109 E 



Read: e me 

The word mun, line 94, may be used with a double sense 
of "hand", or signature. The word copia, line 91, for 
"crowd" suggests the sense of a "copy," a copy, perhaps, of 
the cryptic number of the dvx and of dante. 

The fact that the person described in this passage as being 
transformed like a Phoenix is a robber is significant of the 
deeper symbolism of the Divina Commedia. In Greek myth 
Prometheus is a thief of the divine fire. And in the Chris- 
tian story Christ is crucified between thieves, a companion- 
ship intended to indicate that he shares, in a Promethean 
way, the character of his guilty companions. The theft im- 
plied in numerous myths of rebirth is the theft of the fKJwer 
to give new life to oneself — the power, that is, of the father 
who gives life to the son in the first place. This theft, or 
usurpation, is an expression of the act of incest which ap- 
pears, disguised or undisguised, in all symbols of rebirth. 
The Phcenix is associated with the thief, as Christ, on the 
cross, is associated with the thieves. Dante is here symbol- 



id oyGoot^lc 



SYMBOLIC GUISES 171 

izing his own rebirth in the terms in which the rebirth of 
Christ is symbolized. He is here once more identifying him- 
self with Christ. 

Dante associates himself with the Phcenix in his letter to 
the Italian cardinals,* when he says: "But, O Fathers, be- 
lieve me not the phcenix of the universe, for all murmur, or 
ponder, or dream the things that I say aloud." 



VELTRO 

The next of the symbolic guises of Dante to be con- 
sidered is the Veltro, the enigmatic creature prophesied 
by Virgil in the first canto of Inferno. He may well be 
called, to use the words of Francis Thompson, "the Hound 
of Heaven." 

It has been often surmised, and often dented, that 
the Veltro represents the same person as the Dxv, and 
that this person is Can Grande. I will show that the 
Veltro., like the dxv, represents Dante reborn, and reborn 
like Christ. 

The passage in which the Veltro is described begins, signi- 
ficantly, on the hundredth line of Inj. i. The five terzine 
beginning with the hundredth line are: 

Molti son gli animali a cui s' ammoglia, 100 

E piil saranno ancora, infin che 11 veltro 

Verri, che la fari morir con dc^lia. 
Quesd non ciberi terra nd peltro, 103 

Ma sapienza e amore e virtute, 

E sua nazion sari tra Feltro e Feltro. 
Di quell' umilc Italia fia salute, 106 

Per cui mori la vergine Cammilla, 

Eurialo, e Turno, c Niso di ferute: 
Questi la cacceri per ogni villa, 109 

Fin che I' avri rimessa nello inferno, 

\A ondc invidia prima dipartilla. 
Ond' io per lo tuo me' penso e disccmo, iis 

Che tu mi se^i, ed 10 sar6 tua guida, 

E trarrotti di qui per loco etemo, 
'Letter ix, S, Latham's traulation. 



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172 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

For the cryptographic proof that the yeltn symbolizes 
Dante, consider the following marginal letters on all the lines 
of these five terzine: 



lOO 


MOLT 


lOI 


E P 


I03 


VER 


104 
106 


QUESTI NO 
MA SA 

E 
DI 


107 
108 


PER C 

E 


109 


QU 



Read: peremas qui poema. ecco dante, quasi veltro 

IN PELTRO 

The foregoing acrostic is a good example of the long ana- 
grammatic acrostics which I will show and discuss in detail 
in Chapter IX. As the discussion in Chapter IX will make 
clear, this long anagrammatic acrostic is identical in struc- 
ture with the short anagrammatic acrostics of which we have 
already seen a number of examples; it differs from the short 
anagrammatic acrostics simply in appearing in a greater 
number of lines and containing in itself a greater number 
of words. Let me indicate how stricdy the reading which 
I have deciphered is determined by the text. Notice first 
how clearly the veltro appears in the first three lines: 



I03 VER 

Read: me, veltro 

The initials of the three lines of this terzina, by yielding 
the cryptic 515, confirm the veltro as Dante; the m equal- 
ing 1,000; the E, as the fifth letter, 5; and the v, 5. Notice 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SYMBOLIC GUISES 173 

now how clearly the feltro appears on the last lines of the 



Read, with the c unaccounted for: feltro. 
Equally apparent is the peremas: 



Read, with the d unaccounted for: peremas. 

Thus in the acrostic reading: peremas (lui poema. ecco 
DANTE, (lUASi VELTRO IN FELTRO, thfcc important words are 
very clearly suggested in the acrostic letters; and the poema 
is suggested by the letter cluster: 



Read: poem 

The DANTE is determined by the initial d of line 106 and 
by the fact that it is possible to find the remaining letters 
either in initials or as contiguous to the letters already ac- 
counted for. Ecco is determined as to one letter by the initial 
c of line 1 13. The beginning of the passage as a crypto- 
graphic unit is indicated by the acrostic cave on the passage 
immediately preceding, Inf. i. 88-99 (^^^ P- *^^)- 

The appearance of the words veltro and feltro in an 
acrostic in a passage which contains the same words in the 
text is confirmation of the intentional character of the acros- 
tic. The reading: peremas qui poema, as will appear in 
Chapter IX, is frequently repeated in the long acrostics 
which I have deciphered in the Divina Commedia, This 
reatUng instructs the reader to remove the poem — that is, 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



174 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

the words of the text in their obvious aspect — as if it were a 
veil that hid the secret symbolism. 

Confirming the Veltro as a symbol of Dante, there appears 
in ter^na io6-!o8 a cryptographic signature on the words 
properly capitalized, namely, the word at the beginning of 
the sentence and the proper names. With these capitals the 
terzina appears thus: 

Di quell' umile Italia fia salute, 
per cui morl ta vergjne CammiUa, 
Eurialo, c Tumo, e Kiso di ferute. 

Consider on the capitalized words the following initial 
and contiguous letters: 

DI D 

rrAUA rrA 

CAHHILU CA 

EURIALO E 

TURNO T 

NISO N 

Read: cita dante 

By means of the capitalized words, therefore, the terzina 
cites, or names, Dante. 

Now the Veltro, like the dxv, is to be understood to sym- 
bolize Dante as reborn and therefore as divine. The divine 
character of the Veltro is indicated by the words, lines 103- 
104: 

Ouesti non ciberi terra n£ peltro, 
Ma sapienza e amore e virtute. 

Sapimza e amore e virtute represent the divine Trinity, or 
God, as appears in the opening lines of Inf. iii, where the 
Trinity is referred to as p<aestaie, sapienza, and amore. The 
Veltro, or Christ-like Dante, derives, therefore, his being 
from God, from the Trinity from which the divine man 
Christ derived his being. The divine character of the 
Veltro is further indicated by the fact that the passage 
describing him suggests, as it su^ested to Benvenuto da 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SYMBOLIC GUISES 175 

Imola, a passage in Vir^'s fourth Eclogue, where Vir^l pro- 
phesies the coming of a son. This passage, which is actu- 
ally paraphrased by Dante, Purg. xxii. 70-71, seems to as- 
cribe divinity to the prophesied son, and it was commonly 
interpreted in the Middle Ages as a prophecy of Christ. The 
imitation of the passage by Dante hints that he is carryit^ 
over with Virgil's form something of the accepted interpreta- 
tion of Villi's meaning.* 

Wth the divine character of the Veltro thus indicated as 
a son to come in the form of the reborn Dante, the reason, as 
I believe, becomes clear for Dante's choice of the word 
Feltro to indicate the divine guise of himself. Notice, in 
the first place, that the word veltro begins with the form 
VEL, which we have already identified with Dante. This 
may be taken as a hint that the entire word is an anagram 
for the following: t: velor! velor is the Latin for "I 
am veiled." The t may be understood, as so often else- 
where in the cryptography of the Dioina Commedta, as the 
sign of the cross and therefore as the sign of the divine man 
Christ. The anagrammatic t: velor may mean, therefore: 
"Christ: I am veiled." 

Thus understood as an anagram for t: velor, yeltro 
indicates that Dante, as a divine nature, is veiled in 
Christ. This interpretation of veltro as an anagram for 
t: velor 1 seems to be confirmed by the following interior 
sequence: 

101 e piu saranno ancora infln ohe 11 velTro 

102 Terra ohe la fara morir oon Doglla 

103 quest! non clberA Terra ne peltro 

104 ma sapleNza e amore e virtute 

105 E sua nazlon sara tra feltro e feltro 

Read t of veltro, loi ; d of doglia^ 102; a of cihera and the 
adjacent x oi terra, 103; k of sapienza, 104: e, initial of 105: 
t: daitte. 

May not this reading indicate the identity of the cross, or 
Christ, and Dante? May not Dante be con«dered here, 

^ee Edmand Gardaer, DanU's Ten Beaseiu, appendix. 



)dOyGoO(^lc 



176 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

therefore, as in the t: telor, as veiled in the divine character 
of Christ? 

A farther confirmation for my interpretation of veltro 
as an anagram for t: velor may be found in an acrostic on 
the first lines of the first four tcrztnc of /«/. iv. T1»e passage 
reads: 

Ruppemi I' alto sonno nella testa 

Un greve tuono, A ch' io mi riscosai, 

Come persona che per forza k deata: 
E r occhio riposato intomo mossi, 4 

Dritto levato, e fiso riguardai 

Per conoscer lo loco dov' io fossi. 
Vero i che in su la proda mi trovai 7 

Delia valle d' abisso dolorosa, 

Che tuono accoglie d' infiniti guai. 
Oscura, profond' era e nebulosa, 10 

Tanto che, per ficcar lo vise al fondo, 

Io non vi discemeva alcuna cosa. 

Consider on the first tines of the terzine the following 
mai^nal tetters: 



Read: vero 

This vero is a potence, repeatit^ as it does the vero, 
line 7, of the text. But the vero is only a partial readit^. 
Note on the same lines the following marginal tetters: 



Now this TELOR is immediately followed on the second and 
third lines of the last ter^na, 1 1 and 12, by the initials: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SYMBOLIC GUISES 



Read: Tl, the Italian spelling for the letter t. 

The VELOR and the t, coming thus together, su^jest that 
they may be read together as t: velor. 

The T, as we have seen, is constantly used by Dante as 
the sign of the cross, and it is in this canto, line 54, that the 
cross is alluded to for the first time in Inferno. And in this 
allusion to the cross Dante is veiled again by a cryptographic 
device. See pp. loo-i. 

The following passage. Inf. xxxii. 85-96, further confirms 
my interpretation of veltro as t: velor: 

Lo Duca stette; ed io dissi a colui 85 

Che bestemmiava duramente ancora: 
'Qual se' tu, che cod rampogni altniiP' 

'Or tu chi se,' che vu per 1' Antenora 88 

Percotendo,' rispose, 'altrui le gote 
Si che, se fossi vivo, troppo fora?' 

'Vivo son io, e caro esser n puote,' 91 

Fu mia risposta, 'se domandi fama, 
Ch' io metta il nome tuo tra 1' altre note.' 

Ed egli a me: 'Del contrario ho io brama: 
Levari quinci, e non mi dar pid lagna: 95 

Chi mal aai lunngar per questa lama.' 

The initials of the first lines of these four ter^ne are: 
8s L 



Now consider the following mar^nal letters on the same 
tines: 

85 L 

88 or 

91 V 

94 £ 

Read: velor 



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178 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

By taking the t of m, which is contiguous to Or, line 88, 
we may read: t: velor. There are further hints of t in the 
words: caro esser :i puotgy lint gi, and in the words in lines 98 
and 99, just below this passage: lu tt tiomi and ti rimagna. 
The passage is dealing with the question of identity, as ap- 
pears in the words: Or tu chi se'. 

The following passage, Purg. xxii. 28-39, further confirms 
the same interpretation: 

Veramente piii volte appaion cose, 38 

Che danno a dubitar falsa matera, 

Per le vere ragion che sono ascose. 
La Cua domanda tuo creder m' awera 31 

E^ser ch' io fossi avaro in 1' altra vita, 

Forse per quella cerchia dov' io era. 
Or sappi ch' avarizia fu partita 34 

Troppo da me, e qucsta dismisura 

Migliaia di lunari nanno punita. 
E se non fosse ch' io drizzai mia cura, 37 

Quand' io intesi 1^ dove tu esclame, 

Crucciato quasi all'umana natura: 

The initials of the first lines of these four terzine are: 
38 r 



Now consider the following marginal letters on the same 
lines: 



37 E 

Read: velor 

Crucciato, the first word of line 39, is derived from the 
word for "cross," and as the cross is a t, we may take the 
allusion to the cross as a hint to read: t: velor. The 



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SYMBOLIC GUISES 179 

acrostic corresponds to the sense of the passage, which deals 
with the apparent and the hidden. Note appaion cose, line 
2S;/alsa matera, line 29; ascose, line 30. 

There is an obvious analogy between the yeltro and the 
Dvx to which I wish to call particular attention, since it is 
important for the symbolism of these personifications. 
The coming of the yeltro is prophesied in connection with 
the adulterous lupa, who wives with many animals; the 
coming of the dvx in connection with the puttana, who sins 
with the giant. The presence of these prostitute types in 
the two prophesies concerning the Christ-like child to come 
is profoundly significant. Both the lupa and the puttana 
suggest the type of "fallen mother" as exemplified in Eve. 
So important for ancient and medieval symbolism was the 
prostitute as mother that the harlot Rahab was accepted 
as the ancestress of the Virgin Mary and was commonly con- 
sidered as the symbol of the church itself. Dante's own 
treatment of Rahab, Par. ix. i\$_ff., shows that he makes 
use of this symbolism in the Divina Commedia. 

Now the adulterous lupa and the puttana are to be con- 
sidered as the mother through whom the prophesied child is 
to be born. Evidence for this statement will be given in 
Chapter VIII. At present I wish merely to indicate as briefly 
as possible the raison d'itre of the prostitute mother in the 
symbolism of ancient myth, early Christianity, and the 
Divina Commedia. The child to be bom is to be reborn. 
He is obliged, therefore, in order to be reborn, to return to the 
source of life from which he issued in the first place. The 
source of life is the mother, and the return of the child to the 
womb of the mother for the purpose of rebirth must be by 
way of the sexual act. There is thus implied an act of incest 
in which the mother, by participating with the son, is con- 
stantly represented in ancient myth, religion, and poetry, 
as prostituting herself. The mother becomes the fallen 
mother, like Eve; as the mother of the child in the first 
place, she belongs to the father of the child, but as the mother 
of the reborn child, who is considered as perpetuating his 
own life by his own act, she violates her relation with the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



iSo THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

father, and thus commits her sin. The sin, for which, inileed, 
the son reproaches her, is thus none the less the supreme 
virtue which she has for him. This double nature of her 
act, which is at once a sin and a virtue, is often expressed 
in representations of two mothers, in one of whom is the sin, 
and in the other the virtue, of her act. 

Bearing in mind this interpretation of the prostitute 
mother of the divine child, let us turn to the line in the 
passage in which Dante says of the Veltro., Inf. i. 105: 

E sua nauon sari tra Feltro e Feltro. 

There is an obscurity in these words which, though not 
cryptographic, shows something of the duplicity of the 
cryptt^sraphic method. The meaning of this line has 
troubled the commentators, who have offered a variety of 
explanations. All the explanations agree in one respect, 
which is that the region tra Feltro e Feltro is situated between 
two different places. I suggfcst, on the contrary, that 
Feltro and Feltro are one and the same. According to this 
interpretation that the two Feltros are really one, Dante's 
expression: sua nazion sari tra Feltro e Feltro, might be 
paralleled by some such expression as this: "The spiritual 
domain of the Pope shall be between Rome and Rome!" 

To a devout Roman Catholic this sentence would express 
his belief that the spiritual domain of the Pope shall include 
the whole earth. The region between Rome and Rome is, 
in other words, the entire circumference of the earth — the 
entire region that a traveler would have to traverse if he 
started west from Rome and kept on going west till he 
arrived at Rome again from the east. 

When, therefore, Dante says that the birthplace of the 
divine feltro shall be between Feltro and Feltro he is simply 
saying that he shall be bom of the universe; he shall be 
born of the universe, which is indeed, in some more or less 
pantheistic sense, God, just as Christ, in his human form, 
was born from the universal God, the Trinity in which he 
is the somma saptenza. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SYMBOLIC GUISES i8i 

Now the reason that Dante picked the particular town 
Feltro as the beginning and the end of the circumference 
of the birthplace of the divine Veltro appears, 1 think, in the 
allusion which he makes to Feltro in Par. ix. 52-53. In 
speaking, in this canto, of broken vows, Cunizza says: 

I^angeri Feltro ancora la diffalta 
Deir empio suo pastor. 

The diffalta to which she refers was the betrayal by the 
bishop of Feltro (Feltre) of certain political refugees who 
had fled to him for the sanctuary of the church. The 
church was universally regarded as the symbol of the divine 
mother, and the violation of the sanctuary of the church 
was to be considered, therefore, as a violation of the mother 
herself. Such a violation of the mother as symbolized by the 
church could be expressed, accordingly, as Dante and other 
medieval symbolists constantly did express it, by some such 
term as adultery or prostitution. 

In support of this interpretation of the diffalta delV empio 
suo pastor as symbolizing a sexual violation of the divine 
mother, it is to be noted that diffalta is the very word used 
by Dante in Purg. xxviii. 94, for the sin, a sexual sin involving 
the motherhood of mankind, for which Adam and Eve were 
expelled from the Garden of Eden. 

Interpreted thus as a symbol of the violated mother, 
Feltro is appropriately named here as the birthplace of the 
divinely reborn f^eltro. The fact that Dante mentions 
Feltro twice in the phrase: sua nazton sari tra Feltro e Feltro^ 
may be taken as an expression of the dual nature of the 
adulterous act, which, as I said above, is considered sym- 
bolically as at the same time sinful and virtuous. Thus 
the two Feltros, which are really one, correspond to the 
two mothers, so common in myths of rebirth, who are 
really one and the same mother, for^the two'forms,Junregener- 
ate and regenerate, of one and the same son. 

In connection with the historical incident for which Dante 
mentions Feltro in Par. ix, and for which, as I suggest, he 



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i82 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

chose the town as the symbol of the mother of the divine 
Veltro, there is a detail which may have acted as a further 
determinant of his choice. The political refugees who sought 
the sanctuary of the church in Feltro had revolted against 
the power of King Roberto. Now the sister of King Ro- 
berto was a Beatrice, and this Beatrice had been the wife 
of the predecessor of Roberto, Azzone III d'Este. Beatrice 
is thus intimately associated as wife and sister with the 
paternal image of kingship. She was sister and bride of 
the king, just as the ShuUmite, the commonly recognized 
symbol of the church in the Song of Songs, was called the 
sister and bride of her kingly lover. Inasmuch as the 
sedition was directed against the royal power, she may be 
taken as the outraged wife of the outraged king, and so as a 
symbol, in the actual historical sedition, of the violated 
mother. The fact that her name was Beatrice gives the use 
of the incident by Dante the character of an allusion to the 
mother symbolism of the Beatrice of the Dioina Commedia. 
Dante's Beatrice, as 1 will show in the chapter on Beatrice, 
is the symbol of the mother of the divinely reborn Dante 
himself; and Dante's choice of Feltro as a symbol of the 
mother was determined, I believe, both by the incident of 
the violated sanctuary and also by the fact of the appear- 
ance, in the incident, of a Beatrice in a mother-tike role. 
The incident thus shows, appropriately for the symbolism, 
two symbols of the violated mother, and one of them, his- 
torically, had the name of Dante's own symbol of mother- 
hood, Beatrice. 

LONZA 

The feltro is mentioned in Inf. i, after the mention of 
three other animals, the lonxa, the leone, and the lupa. 
Dante meets these three animitls in his attempt to climb 
the delectable mountain, and it is after his appeal to Virgil 
to be saved from them that Virgil prophesies the coming 
of the yeltrOi who shall slay the lupa, apparently the most 
dangerous of the three. 



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SYMBOLIC GUISES 183 

The lonza, as I will now show, is another of the symbolic 
guises of Dante. The ionza represents Dante in his unre- 
generate, or human, guise, just as the retlro represents him 
as reborn and divine. The lupa, as I suggested in speaking 
of the Veltrot represents his mother; and the leone represents 
his father. 

The lonza is described in the four terzine. Inf. i. 31-42: 

Ed ecco, quasi al cominciar dell' erta, 3 1 

Una lonza leggiera e presta molto, 

Che di pel maculato era coperta. 
E non mi si partia dinanzi al volto; 34 

An^ tmpediva tanto il mio cammino, 

Ch' io mi per ritornar pii volte volto. 
Tempo era dal principio del mattino; 37 

E il sol montava su con quelle stelle 

Ch' cran con lui, quando 1' amor divino 
Mosse da prima quelle cose belle; 40 

SI che a bene sperar m' era cagjonc 

Di quella fera alia gaictta pclle 

Notice that the first line of the passage begins with ed, 
which we have already recognized as a signature, and that 
the last line begins with a d, so that the beginnings of the 
first and last lines spell ed. The passage is thus significantly 
bounded. 

Consider on the first lines of these four terzine the follow- 
ing marginal letters: 



Read: mente 

Now consider on the same lines the following marginal 



Read: ecco quasi me, dante 



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i84 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

In the two acrostic readings on the same lines: mehte 
and Ecco quASi me^ dakte, there is the same association of 
MENTE and DANTE which appears in the acrostics of the dvx 
passage (pp. 122-3), Dante is here identifying himself not 
only with the lonza but also with mente. The reason that he 
identities himself with mente is that mente corresponds 
to Christ, as saptenza, in the divine Trinity, which, as Dante 
tells us in the opening lines of Iftf. iii, is composed of the 
dioina potestate, for the Father, the somma sapiertza, for the 
Son, and the prima amore, for the Holy Ghost. 

In the Trinity thus considered as a group of persons. 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost is the name of 
the mother of the divine family. For the mother symbolism of 
the Holy Ghost see pp. 330-5, 463. This family, moreover, 
corresponds to the three categories of the mind : will, intellect, 
and emotion, so that the Tnnity is at once a symbol of the 
family, as composed of three persons, and a symbol of the 
mind, which unites the three categories. Dante, by identi- 
fying himself with mente, is a^ain, therefore, identifying 
himself with Christ. In identifying himself with the lonza 
he is symbolizing himself in his human, or unregenerate, 
form. 

In addition to the acrostic signature there is an interior 
sequence which appears as follows: 



31 Ed ecco quasi al cominoiar dell'erta 

32 una loNza legglera e presta molto 

33 che di pel mAculato era coperta 

34 e non mi si partla Dlnemzi al volto 

35 anzl Impediva tanto 11 mIO cammlno 

36 ch'io fill per ritornar plu volTe volto 



Read E of *(/, 31; w of lonza, 32; a of maculato, ;^y^ d of 
dinattzi, 34; 10 of m/o, 35; t of volte, 36: 10 dante. 

The signature bepns on ed, which is Dante's symbol, 
runs through the n oi lonza, and through the d of the hinting 
words dinanzi al volto. 



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SYMBOLIC GUISES 185 

LUPA 

We have thus seen that Dante is here represented in two 
forms, unregenerate and regenerate, in the lonxa and in the 
Veltro, He is represented as the son in a family group of 
three, of which the mother is represented by the lupa and 
the father by the ieone. The lupa has the same relation to 
the Veltro that the puttana has to the dvx. The appro- 
priateness of this symbolic representation of the family as 
lonza, lupa, and Uone in the Dioina Commedia as a dream I 
cannot develop here. Let it suffice for our present purpose 
to show the cryptographic justification for identifying the 
lupa with the mother of Dante, just as we have already 
identified the lonza with Dante himself by means of his 
cryptc^aphic signatures. 

The description of the lupa is full of su^estions of her 
maternal character. The use of graoezza, for instance, line 
52, is capable of being understood in a double sense as re- 
ferring to pregnancy. In connection with this duplicity of 
meaning note also die possible duplicity of the line: 

£ molte genti fc' gi& viver grame. 

In saying of her that she "made many people live sorrow- 
ful" Dante may be understood to be saying that she made 
many people live in the sense of having given birth to them. 
Her hunger and her eating of her victims are both referable 
to sexual hunger and to the sexual act on the part of 
woman as symbolized by the act of swallowing or eating. 
This symbolism is widespread in ancient myth and medieval 
fiction, as in Boccaccio's story of the eating of the man- 
drake. For a very special development of this symbolism in 
the Vita Nuooa see the discussion of Dante's dream that his 
heart is being eaten by Beatrice, Chapter VIII, pp. 369-73. 
See also the discussion of the incident, recorded in Purg. 
xxiii,of the mother who ate her own son (pp. 209-ro). The 
dangerous character of the lupa, which is so strongly em- 
phasized, is to be understood as the danger of the sexual 
relation which the son imagines she desires with him and 



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i86 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

which the son himself, consciously or unconsciously, desires 
with her. It is no other, in fact, than the danger of the in- 
cestuous act through which alone, in despite of the jealous 
prohibition of the father, the son can hope for his rebirth. 
In insisting on her dangerous character Dante does not 
confine himself to the manifest text. He expresses the idea 
in an acrostic in the passage, Inj. i. 88-99, •" which Virgil 
warns Dante to beware of her: 

Vedi la besUa, per cui io mi volsi: 88 

Aiutami da lei, famoso aaggio, 

Ch' ella mi fa tremar le vene e i polsi.' 
'A te convien tenere altro viaggio,' 91 

Rispose^ poi che lagrimar mt vide, 

'Sc vuoi campar d'esto loco selva^o: 
Ch& questa bestia, per ta qual tu gnde, 94 

Non lascia altrui passar per la sua via, 

Ma tanto lo impedisce che I'uccide; 
Ed ha natura si malvasia e ria, 97 

Che mu non empie la bramosa vo^ia, 

£ dopo it pasto ha pid fame che pna. 

The initials of the first lines of these four terzine are: 



Read: cave 

That Dante indeed intends the lupa to be a dream-like 
representation of his own mother in her hostile or danger- 
ous aspect appears from the following interior sequences in 
passages describing her in Inf. i: 
« 

47 con la test'ALta e con rabbioaa fame 

48 ai che parEa che L'AEr ne temesse 

49 ed una Lupa che dl tutte Bralle 

50 semBiava carca nella sua mAgrezza 

51 e molte genti fe'sia vivER gralle 

52 questa mi porae tanto Di grAvezza 

53 con la paura che uscia Di sua vista 

54 ch'io perdei la spEItanza dell'altezza 



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SYMBOLIC GUISES 187 

Read AL of alta, 47; e of parea, 48; l of lupa, 49; b of 
sembiava, 50: bella. 

Read l of alta^ 47; lae of Paer, 48; B of hrame, 49: sella. 

Read m of brame, 49; first a of magrezza^ 50; er of vioer, 51 ; 

Dof</f, 52: MADRE. 

Read m of grame, 51; first a of graoezia, 52; d of tit, 53; 
er oi speramut, 54: madre. 

In the second line of the following passage I have adopted 
instead of Moore's reading, venendomi incontro, a reading for 
which there is manuscript authority, venendomi contra. 

58 tal ml fece la BEstia senza pace 

59 Che venendomi contra A poco a poco 

60 mi ripingeva la dove il soL tace 

61 mentre ch'io rovinava In basso Loco 

Read be of bestia, 58; a following contra, 59; l of sol, 60; 

L oi loco, 61: BELLA. 

86 tu sE'solo oolui da oui io tolsi 

87 lo belLo stile che m'ha fatto onore 

88 vedi la Bestla per oui io mi volsi 

89 aiutami dA Lei famosc saggio 

Read e of se, 86; second l of bello, 87; b of bestta, 88; 
L of lei with the adjacent a of da, 89; bella. 

There are suggestions of the sound of this word in bello, 
87, and in la be (stia), 88. 

97 ed ha natuRa si malvagia e ria 

98 che mai non emplE la brzuaosa voglia 

99 e dopo 11 pasta ha plu fAme che prla 

100 molti son gli anlmAli a cul s'allmoglia 

101 e plu saranno AnooRa infin che il velTro 

102 verra che la fara Uorir con doglia 

103 quest! non cibera TerRa ne peltrc 

104 ma sapienza E amorE e virTute 

105 e sua NAzlon sara tra feltro E feltro 

106 Di quell 'umile Italia fia salute 



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i88 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Read r of naturae 97; second e of empie, 98; a of fame, 
99; first M of amwioj/ia, looi t o( oe/Iro, loit matre. 

Read on the vertical line the second a oi animali, 100; r of 
ancorOt loi; u of morir, 102; t of terra, 103; E of amore, 104: 

MATRE. 

Read the first a of ancora, 101 ; m of morir, 102; second r 
of terra, 103; first t of oirtute, 104; e between /f/fro tndfellro, 
105: matre. 

Read T of terra, 103; e preceding aworf, 104; na of nazion, 

105; D of di, 106: DANTE. 

For the other sequence in this passage see page 175. 

A few lines below is another interior sequence, as follows: 

111 la onde InviDia prima dipartilla 

112 ond'io per lo tuo He' penso e dlscerno 

113 ohe tu mi segui ed io sARo tua gulda 

114 e trarrotti dl qui per loco etErno 

Read from d of invtJia, iii; m of ot^, 112; ar of saro,iiy, 
second e of etemo, 114: madre. 

This sequence ends on the word etemo. As we shall see, 
the loco etemo. Hell, is symbolically the womb of the 
mother. 

VIRGIL 

Corresponding to the mother symbolism which I have now 
shown in Feltro, the puttana, and the lupa, and which I will 
further develop in Chapters VII and VIII, there is consis- 
tently worked out in the Dioina Commedia a father sym- 
bolism which appears in connection with the lonza and the 
lupa in the figure of the leone and which keeps reappearing 
throughout the entire poem in various other father images. 
Like the mother images, these father images appear in 
two aspects, the one hostile and hated, the other benign 
and loved. The father image toward which Dante gives 



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SYMBOLIC GUISES 189 

his extremest expression of hatred is Filippo Argenti. This 
figure appears, significantly, in connection with the one direct 
allusion in the entire works of Dante to his mother, Inf. viii. 
45, For the development of the father and mother sym- 
bolism in connection with Filippo Argenti and the direct 
allusion to Dante's mother, see Chapter VIII, p, 325. 

In the symbolism of myth, religion, and dreams the hos- 
tility of the father is to be understood, in so far as it sym- 
bolizes the sexual relation, as due to his jealousy of the son 
on account of the son's incestuous relation with the mother 
in the accomplishment of the son's rebirth. There is an- 
other important aspect of the father symbolism as it ap- 
pears in ancient myth and religion: the son is considered 
as the reborn form of the father himself. This idea sur- 
vives, indeed, in the common expression that "parents live 
again in their children," and it explains the widespread 
custom of infanticide among primitive peoples, a modifica- 
tion of which appears in the Passover and in the slaughter 
of the innocents. The father slays the child because he 
regards the child as stealing away from him his own 
identity. 

An example in the Divina Commedia of a symbol of the 
father who is presented as benign and as reborn In Dante 
himself is Virgil. Dante constantly refers to Virgil as 
father, and in so far as he derives his literary inspiration 
from the /Eneid, he represents himself as a reincarnation of 
Vii^il as his "author." This idea is expressed in an acrostic 
in the passage describing the first appearance of Virgil, in Inf. 
i. In response to Dante's immediate appeal to be saved 
from the lupa, Virgil replies by telling Dante who he is and 
asking Dante why he does not ascend the diUttoso monte. 
The seven terzine beginning Inf. i. 67, read as follows: 

Risposemi: 'Non uomo, uomo gii fui, 67 

E li parent! miei furon Lombardi, 

Mantovani per patria ambedui, 
Nacqui sui Julio, ancorchg fosse tardi, 70 

E vissi a Roma sotto il buono Au^sto, 

Al tempo degli Dei fal» e bugiardi. 



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190 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Poeta fiii, e cantu di quel giusto 73 

Fi^iuol d' Ancliisc, che venne da Troia, 

Poichd il superbo Ilion fti combusto. 
Ma tu perchfe ritorai a tanta noia? 76 

Percnd non sali il dilettoso monte, 

Ch' & principio c cagion di tutta gioia?' 
'Or se' tu quel Virgilio, c quclla fonte 79 

Che spande di partar si largo fiume?' 

Risposi lui con vergognosa fronte. 
'O dcgli altri poeti onore e lume, Sa 

Vagliami il lungo studio e il grande amore, 

Che m' ha fatto cercar lo tuo volume. 
Tu se' lo mio maestro e il mio autore; 85 

Tu se' solo colui, da cut io tolsi 

Lo bello stile che m' ha fatto onore. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines 
of these seven terane: 



73 


POETA 




76 


MA 




79 


OR 




83 







85 


T 




1: MARO RIHATO 


POETA 



The full name of Virgil was Publius Virgilius Maro, and 
Dante uses here the name Maro for a special reason which 
I will presently explain. 

That the poeta in whom Virgil is thus said to be reborn is 
indeed Dante appears from the following interior sequence 
in this passage: 

70 Nacqul sub iullo anchorche fosse tardl 

71 e vlssi A roma sotto 11 buono augusto 

72 al tempo degll Del falsi e buglardi 

73 poeta fui e cantai di quEl giusto 

74 figliuol d'anchlse che venne da Trola 

Read h of nacqui, 70, a, 71, d of dei, 72, e of quel, 73, t 
o( troia, 74: dante. Note that nacqui and Troia are both 



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SYMBOLIC GUISES 191 

significant words; Troia is a word commonly used to desig- 
nate a prostitute, so that Dante is here again associated with 
the prostitute type in his rebirth symbolism, as with the 
putlana and Taide. 

Notice that the word Troia on which this sequence ends is 
preceded by the words venne da, so that the letters of Dante's 
name are grouped thus: 

ven NE DA T roia 

In connection with the acrostic: maro rinato poeta, 
I promised to explain Dante's reason for referring to Virgil 
as MARO. Let me first, however, show another acrostic 
in the same passage reading mare. The terzina in which 
Virgil begins to speak is lines 67-69. Consider the following 
mai^na] letters of the three lines of this terzina: 

67 R 

68 E 

69 MA 

Read: MARE 

Notice in connection with these letters that the initial 
letters, which do not include the interior a, spell kem. 
REM, like the English use of "rebus," means a cryptographic 
device, and the coincidence of rem and mare suggests that 
MARE is some sort of rebus. 

Notice further that as if to prove that mare, the Italian 
for sea, is to be understood here as the name of Virgil, Dante 
makes an acrostic on the words in this ter^na which are 
actually used by Virgil himself. The only word in the terzina 
which is not included in Virgil's reply to Dante is the initial 
word: Risposemi. Consider, therefore, the following marginal 
letters of Virgil's own words: 

67 NO 

68 E 

69 M 

Read: home 



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192 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Thus Virgil, in describing himself, may be considered to 
give his nome in the acrostic reu, mare. But this is not the 
only instance in which Virpl is mentioned as mare. In Inf. 
viii. 7, Dante says of Virgil: 

Ed io mi volsi al mar di tutto il senno. 

This allusion to Virgil as the mar di tutto il senno has not, so 
far as I know, been recognized as a pun on maro. 

The reason that Dante thus insists on the name maro 
for Virgil is related, I believe, Co the famous palindrome: 
ROMA-AMOR. ROMA as an anagram for amor was used 
by medieval symbolists, if I understand their symbolism, to 
express the union, prenatal or incestuous, of Christ and his 
mother Mary. Christ is amor, as appears in Par. xxxiii. 7, 
in the words of Bernardo addressed to the Virgin Mary: 
Nel ventre tuo si raccese Tamore. 

Just as Christ, the son, is thus considered amor, so roma 
is considered the mother, since Rome, as the seat of the 
church, is idenrified with the church, by which the divine 
mother is constantly symbolized. The union of the divine 
mother and the divine son is thus symbolized by a word 
which spells by exactly the same letters the symbol of the 
mother and the symbol of the son. 

Now MARO, as containing exactly the same letters as 
ROMA and AMOR, is also an anagram for roma and amor: 
and it is so used by Dante to indicate the/other by the same 
letters that indicate the mother and the son. 

Thus the family unit, father, mother, and son, is indi- 
cated by the same letters that may be used, in three different 
orders, to indicate respectively each of the three persons of 
which the family unit is composed. The three persons are 
thus indicated as essentially identical. 

This identity of the three persons of the family as com- 
posing a unit is expressed in the concept of the Christian 
Trinity, which, as Dante defines it, Purg. iii. 36, is one 
substance in three persons. The three persons of the Trinity 
are the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and the Holy Ghost, 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SYMBOLIC GUISES 193 

as appears very plainly in early Christian and Gnostic sym- 
bolism, is the mother. Though they differ as persons, they 
are all one substance, exactly as maro, roma, and amor, 
though differing as words, are all one substance in the sense 
of being composed of the same letters. 

It thus appears that by the anagrammatic maro, amor, 
ROMA, Dante may be su^esting the divine Trinity of which 
the father is represented by Virgil, the son by Dante him- 
self, and the mother, as I shall show later, by Beatrice. 
That Dante had the anagrammatic transformations of these 
three words in mind appears from the fact that all three 
words are used in the same passage, maro in acrostic 
form, Roma in Hne 71, and amore in line 83. Moreover, in 
the preceding passage relating to the lonza, the amor divino 
is mentioned, line 39. 

The union of the three persons of the family Trinity, the 
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost — or, as transferred to earth, 
God (or Joseph), the human Christ, and the Virgin Mary — 
is thus symbolized by the anagrammatic maro, amor, 
ROMA. Now it is essential to the understanding of the 
Divina Commedia, and, indeed, of medieval Christianity, 
to recognize that this unity of the three persons of the 
divine family was also symbolized in terms of the sexual 
life. There is just one moment, biologically, when the 
father, son, and mother are physically united, and that 
is in the moment of sexual union between the father and 
the mother, for at this moment the son, with whom the 
mother is being impregnated, exists in the father and in the 
mother simultaneously. This biological situation may explain 
by analc^y the mystery of the unity of the three persons of 
the Godhead. 

Virgil is further symbolized as the father by being as- 
sociated in the following acrostic with the lion, a common 
father symbol. The passage, Inf. ii. 58-69, consists of four 
ter^ne: 

"O anima cortese Mantovana, 58 

Di cui la fama ancor nel mondo dura, 
E durer& quanto 11 moto lontaoa: 



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194 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

L' amico mio e non della ventura, 6i 

Nclla discTta piaraia h impcdito 
Si nd cammin, cKe volto e per paura: 

E tcmo chc non sia f^k si amarrito, 64 

Ch' to mi sta tardi al soccorso levata, 
Per quel ch' io ho di lui nd Cielo udito. 

Or muovi, e con la tua parola omata, 67 

E con cid ch' 6 mesueri al suo campare, 
L' uuta ^, ch' io ne sia consolata. 

The initials of the first lines of these terzine are: 



64 E 

67 o 
Read: o leo 
The initials of the lines of the fourth teruna are: 

67 o 

68 E 
6g L 

Read leg 

The lines on which these acrostics appear are part of the 
account of the meeting of Virgil as father and Beatrice as 
mother, at the entrance of Hell, a meeting, as a sex symbol, 
which results in the rebirth of Dante. For the development 
of this symbolism see Chapter VIII. 

The initials of the first ter^na of the foregoing passage 



Read: deo 

DEO, as the divine father. Is thus associated with Virgil as a 
father image. 

The second terzina also conttuns an acrostic on the fol- 
lowing marginal letters: 



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SYMBOLIC GUISES 195 

61 LA 

63 NEL 

63 s 
Read: snclla 

This refers perhaps to the speed of Beatrice's coming. 

The idea of Virgil as a father image is borne out by the 
acrostic in the following passage. Par. xvii. 19-21, which 
consists of one terzina: 

Mentre ch' io era a Virgilio congiunto 
Su per lo monte che 1' anime cura, 
E (uscendendo net mondo defunto 

Consider the following marginal letters of this terzina: 



Read: seme 

This cryptogram is interesting in relation to the text. 
A yirgilio congiunto si^ests that Dante is of the seed of 
Virgil as well as of Cacciaguida. 



STATIUS 

One of the enigmatic figures of the Divina Commedia is 
Statius, who appears to Dante and Virgil after he has been 
released from the circle of the prodigal on the mountain of 
Purgatory and who accompanies Dante through the rest 
of the ascent of the mountain and even shares with Dante the 
draught of the river Eunoe, to which Dante and Statius are 
led together by Matelda. 

The words in the text which hint at the explanation of the 
enigmatic character of Statius are addressed to Statius by 
Vii^l, who is referring to Dante: 

L' anima sua, ch' h tua e mia sirocchia. 
— Pwy. xxi. 28. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



196 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Virgil, Statius, and Dante, it thus appears, are sister souls 
I will show that they are to be regarded, in the symbolism of 
the Dhina Commedia^ as composing the three elements of 
Dante himself regarded as a trinity. In ancient and 
medieval philosophy the individual is considered some- 
times as having a dual nature, human and divine, physical 
and spiritual; and sometimes as having a triadic nature, 
as in the concept of the three souls of man; or a^ in the 
categories of the mind, intellect, emotion, and will; or as 
in the symbol of the divine Trinity as a family unit. Statius 
will thus prove to be the third element of Dante considered 
as a triad composed of Dante himself, as the son, or intellect, 
Virgil, as the father, or will, and Statius, as the Holy Ghost, 
mother, or emotion. 

When Statius appears to Dante and Virgil he has just 
been released from the circle of the prodigal. He is to be 
considered as rebom, and his rebirth is indicated by the 
quaking of the mountain. This quaking symbolizes the 
parturition throes of the mountain releasing the newborn 
soul. That Starius is an aspect of Dante himself is in- 
dicated by the appearance, line 68, of a cinquecento, cin- 
quecento e piU being the number of years that Statius has 
had to remain in the circle of his purgation. Like the 
Phoenix, therefore, he is reborn at the end of about five 
hundred years. And I surmise that like the passage in 
which the Phoenix is mentioned, the present passage con- 
tains along with the overtly mentioned five hundred a con- 
cealed ten and five, so that Statius is signed with the cryp- 
tic number of the dvx, 515. Tlie concealed ten appears 
in the allusion to Christ. In medieval symbolism Christ is a 
ten. God as a trinity is three; the multiplication of trinity 
by itself, or nine, is the act which produces the human 
Christ; and ten, as the number following nine, the symbol 
of the act of begetting, is the symbol of the begotten, or 
Christ himself. The concealed five appears as the v of 
Virgil, mentioned with pecuhar emphasis by Statius as his 
poetical father and mother. 

The SIS with which this passage describing Statius thus 



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SYMBOLIC GUISES 197 

appears to be stamped is shown again. The terzina com- 
mencing significantly with Ed to, and containing the words: 
cinquecento e piii, has for the initials of its lines: E, c, l. 

These letters may be transmuted into 515, the e as fifth 
letter being 5, the c as 100 being i, and the l as 50 being 5. 

Further confirmation that the figure of Statius conceals a 
reference to Dante appears in the acrostic in the speech in 
which Statius declares his identity. The passage, Purg. xxi. 
82-102, consists of seven terzine: 

'Nel tempo che il buon Tito con I'aiuto Sz 

Del somino Rege vendic6 le fora, 

Ond' usd il sangue per Giuda venduto, 
Col nome che piil dura e piii onora 85 

Era io di li, rispose quello spirto, 

'Famoso assai, ma non con fede ancora. 
Tanto fu dolce mio vocale spirto, 88 

Che, Tolosano, a sh mi trasse Roma, 

Dove mertai le tempie omar di mirto. 
Stazio la gente ancor di Ik mi noma: 91 

Cantai di Tebe, c poi del grande Achille, 

Ma caddi in via con la seconda soma. 
Al mio ardor fur seme le favillc, 94 

Che mi scaldar, dcUa divina fiamma, 

Onde Bono allumati pitl di mille; 
Dell' Eneida dico, la qual mamma 97 

Fummi, e fummi nutrice poetando: 

Senz' essa non fermai peso di dramma. 
£, per esser vivuto di Ifl quando loo 

Visse Virgilio, assentirei un sole 

Pill che non deggio al mio uscir di bando.' 

Consider the following marginal letters on the first lines of 
these terzine: 

82 N 

85 COL NOME 



91 


STAZIO 


94 


A 


97 


D 


LOO 


E 



Read: stazio col nome dante 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



198 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Since Dante, Virgil, and Statius are sister souls, they 
form a trinity which has distinct analogies with the Trinity 
of the Christian Godhead. Virgil is the father, as indeed 
he is so often called by Dante; and Dante is the son, as we 
have already seen. It remains, therefore, if the anal<^iy 
with the Trinity is to hold, for Statius to correspond to the 
Holy Ghost, or the mother. The mother character of Sta- 
tius is here suggested by the expression, Purg. xxi. 92-93: 

Cantat di Tebe, e poi del grande Achille, 
Ma caddi in via con la seconda soma. 

The burden of his poem about Achilles, which he was 
carrying at the time of his death and which he had there- 
fore not yet been delivered of, suggests the language of preg- 
nancy, suggesting in turn the mother character of Statius. 
Another suggestion of his mother-like character is given 
in the words which immediately follow: 

Al mio ardor fiir seme le favillcj 94 

Che mi scatdar, della divjna namma, 
Onde sono allumati pid di mille; 

Deir Eneida dico, la qual mamma 97 

Fummi, e fiimmi nutrice poetando: 
Scnz' essa non fermai peso di dramma. 

In these words Statius speaks of himself as if having been 
impregnated by the seed of the Mneid. Immediately after 
referring to the ^Enetd in its male aspect as seme, he expresses 
a female character in it by his reference to it as mamma, 
the breast at which he was nourished. This complicated 
relation of Statius to a poem which he thus designates 
in terms of father and of mother symbolism together is 
exactly the relation of the Holy Ghost to God the Father, 
as at once the wife of God, impregnated with the seed that 
produces the divine son, and also the daughter of God, 
who, as the first of all beings, must be conceived as the 
male and female source together of the existence of the 
Holy Ghost. These precise relationships were the subject 
of certain early Christian and Gnostic speculations. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SYMBOLIC GUISES 199 

Vit^, Statius, and Dance are thus the trinity of Dante 
himself as poet, and the analogy of the three to father, 
mother, and son respectively will explain the relative posi- 
tions of the three in their ascent together of the mount of 
Purgatory. These positions are most precisely defined by 
Dante. Before they reach the purifying fire, Purg. xxvii. 
10-12, Dante walks behind Virgil and Statius; during the 
passage through the fire Dante walks between them, with 
Vii^ in front and Statius behind; and in the Terrestrial 
Paradise Dante precedes Virgil and Statius. 

Now these relative positions are precisely appropriate 
to the symbolized sexual relationship of the three. Before 
the birth of the son — that is, before the three reach the 
purifying fire — the son, as not yet in existence, is preceded 
by his father and his mother. In the purifying fire, which 
symbolizes the sexual union of the father and the mother 
in the begetting of the son and his conception, the son, as 
sperma^ is between the father and the mother. And after 
the emergence from the fire, which symbolizes the birth of 
the son, the son precedes his parents, in the sense of per- 
petuating and replacing them. The treatment of Virgil 
and Statius in the conclusion of Purgatorio carries out this 
symbolism precisely. It will be remembered that Virgil dis- 
appears and that after his disappearance Statius accom- 
panies Dante to drink of the Eunoe. Now the reason that 
Virgil as the father disappears is simply that the son, once 
bom, has to be reborn, and that in order to be reborn he 
must replace the father in his sexual union with the mother. 
This act of incest is a necessary feature of rebirth in ancient 
and medieval symbolism. Appropriately, therefore, after 
the disappearance of the father, Statius and Dante as 
mother and son unite in the mystic draught of the Eunoe, 
which symbolizes the sexual union through which Dante is to 
be reborn. Statius is never mentioned again. He is left 
behind, as a mother symbol, by the son who issues from him 
and who is to find in Paradise a more perfect symbol of 
motherhood. Let me repeat here that Statius is the symbol 
of the mother of Dante merely as poet; in the draught of 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



200 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

the Eunoe Dante and Stattus are accompanied by Matelda, 
who is also a symbol of the mother, just as is Beatrice. 

I have thus shown that Statins is the symbol of the 
motherhood from which Dante drew his poetic inspiration, 
just as Vit^l is the symbol of the poetic fatherhood. More- 
over, Statius represents an aspect of Dante himself, just as 
in the Trinity each person of the Trinity represents an 
aspect of the Trinity conceived as one substance. There 
is no contradiction in saying that Stattus has the double 
character which I have here ascribed to him. Statius is at 
once the poetic motherhood from which Dante derives and 
Dante himself, exactly as the Holy Ghost in the Trinity is 
at once the mother of the divine son and the divine son him- 
self in so far as he is to be identified with the Trinity. 



ROMEO 

There is a concealed 515 in Par. vi. 124-142, by means 
of which Dante signi6es that he is alluding to himself in 
what he says of Romeo. The passage reads: 

Diverse voci fan giil dolci note; 124 

Cosl diversi scanni in nostra vita 

Rendon dolce armonia tra queste rote. 
E dentro alia presente mar^anta 127 

Luce la luce di Romeo, di cui 

Fu 1' opra bella e grande mal gradtta. 
Ma i Provenzali che fer contra lui 130 

Non hanno riso, e per6 mal cammina 

Qual si fa danno del ben fare altrui. 
Quattro fielte ebbe, e ciascuna regina, 133 

Ramondo Beringhien, c ci6 gli fece 

Romeo persona umile e peregrina; 
E poi tl mosser le parole biece 136 

A domandar ragtone a questo giusto, 

Che gli assegn6 sette e cinque per diece. 
Indi partissi povcro e vetusto; 139 

£ se it mondo sapesse il cor ch' egli ebbe 

Mendicando sua vita a frusto a frusto, 
Assai lo loda, e pvX lo loderebbe.' 142 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SYMBOLIC GUISES 201 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
the terzine: 



1.1.1 


dUAT 


i.lb 


E PO 


139 


IN 



Read: poema. dante qui 

The passage relates to Romeo, who made queens of the 
four daughters of his master and who had been so just that 
he had given his master, in dealing with his affairs, seven 
and five for ten. The usual interpretation is that he had 
given his master twelve for ten, or more than his master 
had a right to expect. The numbers here mentioned are 
all, however, used with a double meaning. The quaitro, 
line 133, may be considered as d, the fourth letter of the 
alphabet, and so representing 500. Now notice the wording: 
git assegnd sette e cinque per diece. 

Sette may be taken as an anagram for teste, the cryptt^ra- 
phic heads that show in the integers of the cryptic number 
515. Read now gli assegnd lesle, and there remain of the 
numbers mentioned a ten and a five, which complete along 
with the concealed d, or 500, the cryptic signature 515. 

In the praise of Romeo and in the pity of his having to 
beg his living Dante is here really praising and pitying him- 
self. 

THE EAGLE 

The next of the symbolic guises of Dante which I wish 
to consider in the present chapter is the Eagle in the heaven 
of Jupiter. This eagle is formed, as I already mentioned, 
by the spirits of the just. Visible to Dante as sparks flying 
about like birds, the spirits of the just form themselves suc- 
cessively into letters spelling the sentence: Diligite iustitiam. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



202 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

qui iudicatis lerram. On the last letter of this sentence, m, 
the spirits pause, and then, by the addition of other spirits, . 
transform the m first into a fleur-de-lys and then into an 
eagle. 

I have already identified the first three letters of the sen- 
tence which the spirits form, dil, as a cryptographic guise 
of Dante. And I have also identified as a cryptographic guise 
of Dante the acrostic vel in the passage which is uttered by 
the eagle. Par. xix. 1 1 5-141 . Analogous to this passage in its 
curious symmetry is Par, xx. 40-72, also uttered by the 
e^le. I will show that Dante is referring to himself in this 
passage, and I will then show that the eagle who utters the 
passage is one of Dante's symbolic guises. The passage 
reads as follows: 



Ora conosce il merto del suo canto, 40 

In quanto effetto fu del suo consiglio, 
Per lo remunerar ch' h altrettanto. 

Dei cinque che mi fan cerchio per ciglio, 43 
Colui chc piit al becco mi s' accost a, 
La vcdovella consold del figlio, 

Ora conosce quanto caro costa 46 

Non seguir Cristo, per 1' esperienza 
Di questa dolce vita, e dell' opposta. 

E quel che segue in la circonferenza 49 

Di che ragiono, per 1' arco supemo, 
Morte indueid per vera penitenza. 

Ora conosce cne u giudizio etemo 53 

Non si trasmuta, quando degno preco 
Fa crasttno laggi^ dell' odierno. 

L' altro che segue, con Ic legsS c meco, 55 
Sotto buona intenzion che le' mal frutto. 
Per cedere al pastor, si fece Greco. 

Ora conosce come il mal dedutto 58 

Dal suo bene operar non gli h nocivo, 
Awegna che sia il mondo indi distrutto. 

E quel che vedi nell' arco declivo, 61 

Guglielmo fii, cui quella terra plora 
Che piange Carlo e Federico vivo. 

Ora conosce come s' innamora 64 

Lo ciel del {^usto rege, ed al sembiante 
Del suo fidgore it fa vedere ancora. 



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SYMBOLIC GUISES 203 

Chi crederebbe giti nel mondo errante, 67 

Che Rifeo Troiano in quesCo tondo 

Fosse la quinta delle luci sante? 
Ora conosce assu di quel che il mondo 70 

Veder non pud della divina grazia, 

Bench^ sua vista non discerna il fondo.' 

This passage is remarkable for the repetition of the words: 
Ora conosce, which begin the first terzina and every second 
terzina thereafter. This symmetrical repetition points to 
the cryptographic contents of the passage. Consider the fol- 
lowing marginal letters on the first lines of all the terzine 
not beginning with Ora conosce: 



40 


|oRA conosce] 


43 
46 


D 

[ora conosce] 


49 


E 

[ora conosce] 


61 


1^ 

[ora conosce] 

E 


64 
67 
70 


[ora conosce] 

c 

[ora conosce] 


Read: cela ed 



The passage conceals Dante in several interior sequences 
spelling his name: 

48 di questa Dolce vita e dell'opposta 

49 e quel che seguE In la circonferenza 

50 di che raglono per I'Arco auperno 

51 morte Indugio per vera peniTenza 

52 ora conosce che il giudizio eterNo 

53 non si trasButa quANdo DEgno preco 

54 fa crastino lAggiu dell'oDiemo 

55 I'alTro che segue con le leggl E meoo 

56 sotto buona intension ohe fe mal frutTo 

Read d of dolce, 48; second E of segue, 49; a of arco, 50; 
T of penitepza, 51; n of etemo, 52: dante. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



204 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Read N of etemo, 52; de of degno, 53; a of iaggiu, 54; t of 
aiiro, 55: DANTE. 

Read AN of quandof 53 ; d of odiemo, 54; E following Uggi, 
55; second t oifrutto, 56: dante. 

Note that the first and the second of these three sequences 
key on the n of etemo. 

These signatures are sufficient to prove that Dante is 
referring to himself in the words of the eagle in this passage. 
Having already shown that he refers to himself in the other 
utterance of the eagle, the passage containing the acrostic 
VEL, and in the writing of the spirits who form the eagle, 
the passage containing dil, i will now show that he defin- 
itely takes the eagle itself as his symbolic guise. The proof 
that I have to offer is to be found in the names of the spirits 
who form the eye and eyebrow of the eagle. These spirits 
are David, Triuano, Ezechia, Costantino, Guglielmo, and 
Rifeo. Consider in these names the following initiid and 
contiguous letters: 



Read: kiouardavi cost dante 

The head of the eagle is in profile, so that only one eye is 
visible. The pupil of the eye is formed by the spirit of 
David. But like Aristotle among the philosophers in Inf. 
iv, David is not mentioned by name. He is indicated as 
il cantor deJlo spirito santo, line 38, and the anonymous 
allusion to David in this phrase is capable of being considered 
an allusion to Dante himself. The spirito santo is the name 
of the mother in the divine Trinity; and as Dante is the 
singer of the divine mother, the phrase, // cantor dello spirito 
santOf applies as well to him as to David. Moreover, the 
analc^es between David as a name and Dante's cryptic num- 



ir,Goo<^lc 



SYMBOLIC GUISES 205 

bcr, 515, in vid, plus his initials d.a., can hardly have been 
neglected by Dante; in his search for analogies everywhere 
it is highly probable that he saw the possibilities in da vid for 
su^esting: d.a: vid. 

In the light of this identification of the eagle as a guise of 
Dante, it becomes evident that Dante has a double meaning 
when he says. Par. xix. 11-12, that he heard the eagle utter 

ndla voce ed 'lo' e 'Mio,' 
Quand' era nel concetto 'Noi' e 'Nostro.' 

The eagle is composed of many spirits, yet in its voice it 
said, "I" and "my", as if it were one spirit; such is the patent 
meaning of the lines. But it is possible to understand 
Dante as saying here that the eagle uttered in its voice: 
ED 10, the cryptographic designation of Dante himself, and 
said "I" and "my" as if speaking for Dante. 

With the identity of Dante and the eagle thus established, 
there remains to be explained the symbolism of the eagle as 
transformed successively from a fleur-de-lys and an m. 
This symbolism has never, so far as I know, been explained 
satisfactorily; certainly it is not sufficient to associate the 
lily with the armorial device of Florence and the eagle with 
the emblem of the empire. These associations, which are 
probable enough, are the mere surface symbolism of the 
transformations. 

It is to be noted that the letter m appears in connection 
with the eagle in three forms: first, as the letter; second, as 
the lily; and third, as the eagle. These three forms of the 
letter represent the three persons of the family as a trinity 
anal<^ous to the Trinity of the Christian Godhead. 

The letter m is in itself, in the first place, the symbol of 
MAN. 1 have already referred to the meiiieval Italian con- 
ceit that the word for man, omo, is written on the human 
face. The m of this spelling is formed by the line of the nose 
and the outlines of the cheeks, and the two o's are formed 
by the eyes. The three letters are supposed to be visible 
in the letter m alone, in a form of the m which suggests the 
two o's as made on each side of the central line of the m 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



206 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

by the spaces enclosed by the central line and the outlines 
of the letter. 

Such a form of the letter m which gives in itself the two 
o's appears in the human face when the eye sockets, which 
form the two o's, are enlai^ed, as Dante tells us they were in 
the passage in which he refers to the very conceit in ques- 
tion. Let me quote the passage, as it is important for an 
aspect of the symbolism of the eagle which I shall have to 
develop later. Dante is viewing in Pulsatory the souls of the 
gluttonous, who are undergoing a penitential fast. He says, 
Purg. xxiii. 22-33: 

Ncgli occhi era ciascuna oscura e cava, 33 
Pallida nclla faccia, e tanto scema, 
Che dall' ossa la pelle s' inforniava. 

Non credo che cos) a buccia estrema 35 
Eresitone fosse fatto secco 
Per digiunar, quando piil n' ebbe tema. 

Id dicea fra me stesso rwnsando: 'Ecco 38 
La gente che perdfe Jerusalemme, 
Quando Maria nel Aelio die' di becco.' 

Parean 1' occhiaie anella senza gemme. 31 
Chi nel vise de^Ii uomini legee omo, 
Ben avria quivi conosciuto 1 cmme. 

This passage establishes Dante's recognition of the 
cryptographic conceit that the human face spells omo by a 
form of the letter m which supplies of itself the two o's, and 
that the letter m in itself, accordingly, represents omo. The 
same use of the letter m has appeared in our interpretation 
of the passage containing the acrostic vel, Par. xix. 129 
(see pp. 163-4). ... 

Dante's identification of himself, as typical, with man- 
kind is expressed in his cryptography by a punning use of 
the letter m as representing mankind. The spelled form of 
M is emme, and in acrostics and in his use of the isolated letter 
Dante seems to suggest a punning use of emme as e me. 

Now man, as a generic term, appears in the original family 
unit in three forms, as father, mother, and son. The 
cryptographic use of m in the transformation of the m into a 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SYMBOLIC GUISES 207 

lily and an eagle will show, accordingly, three forms of the 
M to correspond with the three persons of the family. 

The M as it first appears is the mother. This m, as will 
be remembered, is mentioned, Par. xviii. 93, as the last 
letter of the Latin terrain, which is an anagram, with a re- 
dundant R, for MATER. This anagrammatic reading and 
the fact that the other two forms of the m, the lily and the 
eagle, spring from the m, establish the m as a symbol of the 
mother. 

The three forms of the letter, as m, lily, and eagle appear 
in the following cut from Toynbee's t>ante Dictionary. 



The lily is formed by a sprout from the central stem of the 
M. This lily form was recognized in medieval symbolism 
as phallic. As phallic, it represents the male, and as a 
sprout from the maternal m, the son. 

The eagle is formed by the addition of a head to the lily- 
like sprout of the m. The eagle, as the emblem of the empire 
and the bird of Jove, is a paternal symbol. As being 
formed by the addition of a head to the other two forms of 
the M, it is to be regarded as the head of the family group 
which the three forms of the m represent. 

The three persons of the family trinity, as thus represented 
respectively by a form of the letter m, are represented as 
identical in the sense that they are formed from one sub- 
stance, the letter m which appears in each of them. This 
method of representing the identity of the three persons of 
the family by symbols of the three persons in which the 
symbols are formed of the same substance has appeared in 
the anagrammatic maro, kcIma, and amor, which we have 
already examined. These words, which, as it will be remem- 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



M>8 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

bered, represent respectively father, mother, and son, are 
formed of identically the same letters. This identity of the 
three persons is expressly postulated by Dante for the divine 
Trinity, which, as he says Purg. iii. 36: 

bene una sustan^a in tre persone. 

With the family trinity of father, mother, and son thus 
apparent in the three forms of the letter m, it remains to 
show the symbolism of the son reborn which Dante develops 
in connection with the divine eagte. This symbolism of the 
Son reborn appears in what Dante says of the utterance of the 
eagle. Par. xx. 22-29: 

E come suono at collo della cctra 33 

Prende sua forma, e A come al pertugio 

Della sampogna vento che penetra. 
Cod, rimosso d'aspettare indugio^ 25 

Quel mormorar dclI' aquila salissi 

Su per to collo, come fosse bugio. 
Fecesi voce quivi, e quindi usctssi 38 

Per lo 8U0 becco in forma di parole, 

The sound is to be understood, in the symbolism of this 
passage, as ejaculated from the phallic neck in the form of 
the divine Word, the logos which in the Christian story of 
rebirth is Christ: "the Word was made flesh." — John i, 14. 

This symbolism of rebirth is repeated in connection with 
the eagle in the allusions to the falcon, the stork, and the 
lark. Those allusions will have to be examined in detail, 
as they are profoundly significant of the symbolism not only 
of the transmutations of the m but of the entire Divina 
Commedia. When the e^le, in the beginning of Par. xix, 
liegins to speak, it does so with outstretched wings, as eagle. 
Then, Par. xix. 34, in a pause between its first and its 
second utterance, the eagle becomes 

qua« fatcone ch' esce del cappello. 

And in a second pause tn its utterance the eagle, which has 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SYMBOLIC GUISES 209 

previously become like a falcon, becomes like a mother 
stork that circles about her nest after she has fed her young; 
and Dante himself becomes, as he develops the figure, like 
the young stork who has just been fed. Par. xix. 91-96. 
And when, after a third pause, the eagle speaks for the last 
time, it becomes, Par. xx. 73: 

quale allodetta che in aere si spaua. 

The eagle, along with the other birds to which it is likened, 
forms, then, the following group: eagle, falcon, stork with 
its young, and lark. These four birds are used by Dante 
to suggest the trinity of the family, the father, mother, and 
son, along voith the son reborn. 

The father symbolism of the eagle ejaculating the divine 
Word, the logos, or son, has already been pointed out. And 
the singing lark, accordingly, to which the eagle is likened, 
corresponds to the divine word, or son, which the eagle, as 
father, utters. With the eagle and lark thus accounted 
for, the falcon and the stork remain as the symbols of the 
mother in the double aspect of the divine mother to which I 
have already frequently alluded. 

Let us examine first the falcon as the symbol of the in- 
cestuous mother through whom the divine son is to be 
reborn, just as the divine Christ was reborn on earth as man 
through the Virgin Mary. The key to the mother symbolism 
of the falcon is to be found in the passage already quoted in 
connection with the m as written in the faces of men, Purg. 
xxiii. 22-33. In this passage, the reader will remember, 
Dante mistook the emaciated souls to be 

La gente che perdi Jerusalemme, 
Quando Maria nel figlio die' di becco. 

The apparent allusion here is to an incident in the siege of 
JerusaJem. According to Josephus, the inhabitants of Jeru- 
salem became so reduced to starvation during this siege that 
a certain Maria killed her own son and ate his flesh. And 
when Dante says here that Maria nel figlio die' di becco, 
he is likening the mother of the child to a bird of prey. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



2IO THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Now Dante's allusion to the Maria of this incident is 
simply a screen; he is alluding, in the last analysis, to the 
Virgin Mary, who took her divine son into her womb ex- 
actly as the other Maria swallowed her son. In other words, 
the swallowing of the son is here used as a symbol of incestu- 
ous intercourse. Swallowing as a symbol of intercourse is 
common in myth and folklore, as witness the primitive belief 
in imprecation by eating. The incestuous character of 
the eating in this incident is emphasized by Dante himself 
in the allusion to Eryslcthon, line 26, who was punished, on 
account of his sacrilege toward the mother goddess Ceres, 
with insatiable hunger. Since Ceres was also the goddess 
of the harvests of the earth, his hunger is a symbol of his 
hunger for her. A further indication by Dante of the 
incestuous character of the act of eating the son in this 
passage appears in the allusion, line 34, to the pomo, the 
apple symbolizing the apple in the garden of Eden. The eat- 
ing of the apple in the garden of Eden symbolizes, of course, a 
sexual transgression, and this transgression, as I shall show 
in Chapter VIII, seems to have been understood as incestu- 
ous. 

Bearing in mind that Dante likens the Maria who eats 
her own son — and is therefore incestuous — to a bird of prey, 
let us return now to the falcon mentioned in Par. xix. The 
falcon is essentially, as a reference to any history of falconry 
will show, the bird that preys upon the lark. It was speci- 
ally trained to hunt the lark by the falconers of the Middle 
Ages, and Dante here mentions the falcon, to be associated 
with the lark which is mentioned later, as suggesting the in- 
cestuous mother as preying and the incestuous son as 
prey. 

The similitude of the eagle to the falcon is succeeded by 
the similitude of the eagle to the stork, which is obviously 
maternal in its circling about the nest and feeding its young, 
the young stork to which Dante likens himself. The in- 
cestuous mother, represented by the falcon, is thus re- 
placed by the fostering mother represented by the stork; 
and the lark, representing the incestuous son, is replaced 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SYMBOLIC GUISES an 

by the young stork representing the incestuous son reborn. 
Thxa the symbolism of the transformations of the m, as 
suggesting father, mother, and son in a family trinity, 
expresses simultaneously the rebirth of the son, who thus 
adds a fourth figure to the family exactly as Christ as man 
adds a fourth figure to the Divine Trinity. 



CHRIST 

There have been so many indications, in the cryptograms 
which we have already examined, of Dante's identification of 
himself with Christ in the Dtvina Commedia^ that it may not 
be necessary to give further proof of the identification. In 
Purg. xxxiii, however, immediately after the prophecy of the 
515, there is another 515 in connection with a reference to the 
coming of Christ which quite definitely connects Dante, as a 
515, with Christ. After Beatrice has made the prophecy 
she continues, Purg. xxxiii. 52-63: 

Tu nota; e si come da me son porte, 59 

Co^ queste parole scgna ai vivi 

Del viver ch ^ un corrcre alia mortc; 
Ed abbi a mente, quando tu te scrivi, 55 

Di non celar qua! hai vista la pianta, 

Ch' k or due volte dirubata quivi. 
Qualunque ruba quella o quella schianta, 58 

Con bestemmia di fatto offende a Dio, 

Che S(Jo air uso auo la cr^ santa. 
Per morder quella^ in pena ed in dislo 61 

Cinquemili anni e piii V anima prima 

Bramd Colui che il morse in s^ punio. 

The cinquemili' anni e piii, line 62, which are said to have 
elapsed between the fall of Adam and the coming of Christ, 
suggest the five hundred connected with the ovx as again 
connected with rebirth. To complete the mystic 515 in 
this passage there is the concealed 5 in the mention of Dio, 
line 59, and the concealed 10 in the allusion to Christ, line 6;}. 
The D of Dio conceals a 5, since the d, as 500, may be re- 



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ai2 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

duced to five by disregarding the zeros. The allusion to 
Christ gives a ten, and so a one. The cinquemili' may be 
reduced to 5 by disregarding, as usual, the zeros. This 515, 
coming as it docs immediately after the 5 1 5 of the prophecy, 
serves once more to identify Dante with Christ. 

In connection with the reference to the divine Trinity, 
Par. XV. 46-57, there is another concealed 515 which again 
shows Dante as identifying himself, if not here with Christ, 
with God. The passage reads as follows: 

La prima cosa che per me s' intese, 46 
'Benedetto sie tu, fu, 'Trino ed Uno, 
Che nel mio seme sei tanto cortese.' 

E seguitd: 'Grato e lontan digiuno, 49 

Tratto Ic^gendo ncl magno volume 
U' non s) muta mai bianco nh bruno, 

Soluto hai, figlio, dentro a questo lume 52 
In ch' io ti parlo, mercd di colei 
Ch' air alto volo ti vesti le piume. 

Tu crcdi che a me tuo pensier mei SS 

Da quel ch' h pnmo, cos) come raia 
Dall' un, se si conosce, il cinque e il sei. 

The trino ed uno, line 47, added tc^ether as a three and 
one, make 4, which may be transmuted into the fourth 
letter of the alphabet, or d. This d is then to be taken as 
500. The concealed t appears in prima, line 56, and the 
five is cinque in line 57. There thus appears 515, with a six 
left over, line 57. But notice that the words expressing the 
six, e il sei, may be taken in a double sense as "And thou art 
he." Thus the cryptogram says in effect: "515 — and thou 
art he." 



LUCIFER 

Inasmuch as Dante is both human and divine, both evil 
and good, he identifies himself not only with Christ but also 
with Lucifer, the fallen angel who is 

Lo imperador del doloroso r^no. 



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SYMBOLIC GUISES 213 

The appearance of Lucifer is described in the following pass- 
age, /«/. xxxiv. 34-60: 

S' ci fit si bel com' egli ^ ora bnitto, 34 

E contra il suo Fattore alzd le ciglia, 

Ben dee da lui proccdere ogni lutto. 
O quanto parve a me gran maraviglia, 37 

CXiando vidi tre facce alia sua testa! 

L una dinanzi, e quella era vermiglia; 
L' altre eran due, chc s' aggiungieno a quesCa 40 

Sopr' csso il mezzo di ciascuna spalla, 

£ si giungieno al loco della cresta; 
E la destra parea tra bianca e gialla; 43 

La sinistra a vedere era tal, quali 

Vengon di I4, onde il Nilo s' avvalla. 
Sotto ciascuna uscivan due grandi ali, 46 

Quanto si convenia a tanto uccello; 

Vele di mar non vid' io mai cotali. 
Non avean penne, ma di vipistrcllo 49 

Era lor modo; e quelle svolazzava, 

51 ctie tre venti si movean da ello. 
Quindi Cocito tutto s' aggelava: 53 

Con sei occhi piangeva, e per tre menti 

Gocciava il pianto e sanguinosa bava. 
Da ogni bocca dirompca col denti 55 

Un peccatore, a guisa di maciulla, 

Si cne tre ne facea cosi dolenti. 
A quel dinanzi il mordere era nulla SS 

Verso il graffiar, che tal volta la schiena 

Rimanea della pelle tutta brulla. 

Notice first, in connection with this passage, the initials 
of the first four terzine, in which the three faces of Lucifer 
arc described: 



I will return to the significance of this reading, which is 
extremely important. But I wish to show first the reading 



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214 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

on the entire passage. Consider, then, on the first lines of 
the nine lerzine the following marginal letters: 



SOT 
NOW 
QUI 



Read: sole: sono qui dante 

On the third terzina consider the following marginal 
letters, lines 40-42: 



Read: sole 

The repetition of sole in the acrostic of this terzina and in 
the acrostic of the four terzine shows the emphasis that Dante 
places on the sun symbolism of the passage. 

On the fourth terzina, lines 43-45, consider the following 
marginal letters: 



Read: vel 

Tliis vel calls attention to the whole passage as a veil for 
the cryptographic readings which we have found and for 
the symbolism which must now be developed. 

The acrostic sole, which appears twice in the four terzine 
describing Lucifer, is of the highest importance for the 
symbolism of the Divina Commedta in identifying the sun 
as the symbol of Lucifer. Throughout the Divina Corn- 
media the sun is constantly used as the symbol of God, of 



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SYMBOLIC GUISES iij 

Christ, and of Dante; that it should now appear as the 
symbol of Lucifer implies the essential identity of all these 
persons. 

It is not alone in the Dhtna Commedia that the sun is the 
symbol of Lucifer; in Isaiah xiv. 12-15, is the following 
passage: 

"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the 
morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst 
weaken the nations! 

"For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into 
heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I 
will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides 
of the north: 

"I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be 
like the most High. 

"Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of 
the pit." 

This passage must at once be recognized as an expression 
of Lucifer in terms of the sun myth, exactly as the story of 
Christ is expressed in terms of the sun myth. Christ is the 
sun above the horizon, the sun that makes the journey of the 
sky from east to west; Lucifer is the sunken sun, the sun 
that makes the journey of the underworld in the night, 
from west to east; and they are both the same sun. And 
Dante, whose downward and upward journey in the Divina 
Commedia is precisely synchronized with the journey of the 
sun, has likewise the sun for his symbol and is likewise 
identified with Christ on the one hand and Lucifer on the 
other. The identity of Christ and Lucifer accords with the 
profound precept that everything is its own opposite. 
Dante, therefore, who by virtue 0/ his divine nature is all 
that is good, is by virtue of his human nature all that is evil. 
For Dante as elios, Greek for sun, see page 349. 

Now it must not be forgotten that Lucifer, with his three 
faces which represent in distorted and discolored form the 
three persons of the divine Trinity, is a triadic symbol of 
the three members of the family, father, mother, and son — 
a triadic symbol which represents the three as united to- 



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2i6 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

gether. The situation, as we have already seen, in which 
the three members of the family may be considered to be so 
united as to form, not three beings, but a single beit^, is in 
the act of union by which the father begets the son in the 
body of the mother: the three in this situation are physically 
united. In the case of the incestuous son who accompHshes 
his own rebirth, the father and the son are identical, since the 
son, in begetting himself, is the father of himself. The sin 
for which the incestuous son is punished and through which, 
in spite of the punishment, he accomplishes his rebirth, is in 
thus usurping the father's place. This sin is the sin of Luci- 
fer; it is the superbo strupo for which he was cast from 
Heaven; and it Is in the Image of his sin that he is here 
represented. As a triad Lucifer is represented simultane- 
ously with his mother, either as in incestuous union with her 
or as in her womb, and with his father, in the sense of re- 
placing him. 

Now if Lucifer, as I have indicated in the preceding pages, 
is to be understood as a guise of Dante, he must be under- 
stood to represent Dante, as son, in the same peculiar 
relation to father and mother in which he stands himself — 
in a relation, in other words, which represents Dante as the 
incestuous son who accomplishes his rebirth in disobedience 
to the divine command. As symbolized in the triadic Luci- 
fer, Dante, as son, is represented as united with father and 
mother in the sense of being identified with them. This 
idea of the essential identity of the three members of the 
family group is expressed by Dante in his representation of 
them, in Inf. i, as leone, lupa, and lonza\ distinct as they 
are as three separate animals, they are identical in the 
animal nature which they possess in common. 

A still clearer symbol of the identity of the three mem- 
bers of the family group appears in Dante's use, Par. ii, 
of the three mirrors. These three mirrors, in connection 
with the light which they equally reflect and which makes 
with them a group of four, must be understood, it seems 
to me, as the counterpart of the leone, the lupa, and the 
lonza^ in connection with the Veltro, in InJ. i; and of the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SYMBOLIC GUISES 217 

quattro stelle 
Non viste mai fuor che alia prima gcntc, 

in Purg. i. The four of these groups represent the father, 
mother, son, and son reborn; and the three mirrors, as 
equally reflecting the light as the symbol of the reborn son, 
symbolize the essential community of the original three in the 
reproduction (reflection) of the fourth. 

Analogous to Lucifer and to the divine Trinity as triadic 
symbols of the united family, and so of Dante himself as son 
in relation to father and mother, are the three-headed mon- 
ster Cerberus, and Geryon, the monster with three bodies. 
The father symbolism of these fiends appears in the fact 
that they represent the ruling power of 

Lo impcrador del doloroso regno. 

Their symbolism as the son appears from the fact that they 
are themselves the prisoners as well as the rulers of Hell. 
The mother symbolism is indicated for Cerberus in his 
ravenous hunger, like the sex-hunger of the lupa; in his 
huge belly, like the swelling in pregnancy; and by his being 
appeased by handfuls of earth (semen) thrown down his 
throats. His throats have the same female symbolism 
which we shall find in the next chapter for the gate of Hell. 
TTie mother symbolism of Geryon is indicated in his dragon- 
Hke shape, the dragon being a common mother symbol, and 
in his carrying Dante, as in pregnancy, from one stage of 
his journey to another. The mother symbolism of the act 
of carrying Dante appears again in the figure of Lucia, who 
carries him up the slope of Purgatory just as Geryon carries 
hirn down into the abyss of Hell. The description of the 
posture of Geryon in swimming, as like that of a diver 

Che in su si stcnde, e da pi^ si rattrappa, 

must be understood as an allusion to the posture in coitus. 

The symbolism may be suggested in the acrostic on the 
passage including this line. Inf. xvi. 121-136: 



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2i8 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Ei disse a mc: 'Tosto v&rrk di sopra 131 

Cid ch' io attendo, e che il tuo pensier sogna 
Tosto convien ch' al tuo viso si scopra.' 

Sempre a quel ver ch' ha faccia di menzogna 134 
De' 1' uom chiudcr Ic labbra finch' ei puotc, 
Pcr6 che senza colpa fa vergc^na; 

Ma qui tacer nol posse: e per le note 127 

Di questa commedia, lettor, d BJuro, 
S' cOe non sien di lunga gra»a vote, 

Ch' io vidi per qudl' aer grasso e scuro 130 

Venir notando una figura in suso, 
Maravigliosa ad ogni cor sicuro. 

Si come torna colui che va giuso 133 

Talora a solver 1' ancora ch' 



^rappa 
O scoglio od altro che nel mare d cniuso, 
Che in su si stende, c da pi6 si rattrappa. 136 

Consider on the last line of the canto and the first lines 
of the five preceding terzine the following marginal letters: 



136 c 

Read: esce maschio 

It is in connection with Geryon that Dante develops 
the enigmatic symbolism of the cord. Inf. xvi. 106-1 14: 

Io aveva una corda intorno cinta, 106 

E con essa pensai alcuna volta 
Prender la lonza alia pellc dipinta. 

Poscia che I' ebbi tutta da me sciolta, 109 
SI come il Duca m' avea comandato, 
Porsila a lui aggroppata e rawolta. 

Ond' ei si volse mver Io destro late, tia 
Ed alquanto di lungi dalla sponda 
La gittd giuso in quell' aito burrato. 

The meaning of this passage, which the commentators 
have consistently missed, confirms the mother symbolism of 
Geryon's act oi bearing Dante. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



SYMBOLIC GUISES 219 

Consider first the initials of the first lines of the three ter- 
dne: 

106 I 
109 p 

113 O 

Read: pig 

Pio is a word which appears in the acrostic pio rimasi 
in connection with the mother symbolism of the closing 
lines of Purgatono. 

The cord referred to here is sometimes explained as the 
cord worn by the Franciscans, whose order, according to 
Buti, Dante is said to have joined in his youth and to have 
quitted before the end of his novitiate. But whether the 
testimony of Buti be accepted or not, the highly elaborated 
symbolism of the cord in the present passage can hardly be 
explained as a mere historical allusion to Dante's novitiate in 
a religious order. It would be much more likely that if 
Dante were actually referring to the cord worn by the 
Franciscans, he would refer to it for the sake of its original 
symbolism. The cord worn by the Franciscans is, as I sur- 
mise, a mother symbol by virtue of its forming a circle; and 
the fact that it is worn about the body of the monk sym- 
bolizes his union with the divine mother. 

But Dante's use of the cord is to be more fully explained, 
I believe, in the light of a primitive custom to which I have 
found references in Frazer's Golden Bough and Folk-lore in 
the Old Testament. According Co this custom the umbilical 
cord of a boy is preserved until the age at which he is initiated 
into the rites of manhood. These rites symbolize rebirth, 
and one of the ritualistic details consists in throwing the 
umbilical cord, which has been preserved from his infancy, 
into the stream or sea. As the stream or sea is a mother 
symbol, he may thus be supposed to symbolize his reunion 
with his mother by the very tie which had united them origi- 
nally. Such a reunion is, of course, of the essence of the 
rites of rebirth. How, or in what form, such a custom may 
have come to the knowledge of Dante I hazard no guess; 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



220 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

I am confident, however, that in whatever form it survived 
in medieval symbolism, it explains the curious manner in 
which he summons Geryon to bear him, like an evil mother, 
to the consummation of his incestuous rebirth. 



idovGoot^lc 



Chapter VII 
THE SEAL 



DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc 



DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc 



Chapter VII 
THE SEAL 



pEREMAS, Latin for "do thou remove," is a word that 
■^ has appeared several times in the cryptographic readings 
presented in the previous chapters. The cryptographic use 
that Dante makes of this word is so complicated that it will 
now have to be examined in detail. 

The first instance of peremas to which I called attention 
appears in the acrostic on the marginal letters of the first 
lines of the first four terzine of the first canto of Purgalorw 
(see p. 27). The importance of the word is indicated by the 
prominence of this position. Let me show this acrostic again : 



Read: peremas 

As I pointed out, the acrostic on these lines is a double 
acrostic, for in addition to the reading: peremas, there is 
also on the initials of the four lines in question the acrostic: 

SP£M. 

Spem is thus formed of four letters of the seven letters of 
PEREMAS, and the remaining three, which are e, r, and a, 
may be considered as spelling era. It thus appears that 
PEREMAS may be transmuted as an anagram into era spem. 

There is another transformation of peremas which appears 
very clearly in the first four terzine of Par. viii: 



)doyGoot^lc 



2H THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Solea creder lo mondo in suo pericio 

Che la bella Cipngna il folle amore 

Raggiasse, volta nel terzo epiciclo; 
Pcrch^ non pure a lei facean onore 4 

Di sacrificio e di votivo grido 

Le ^enti antiche nell' antico errore; 
Ma Dione onoravano e Cupido, 7 

Questa per madre sua, <]uesto per tiglio, 

E dicean ch' ei sedette in grembo a Dido; 
E da costei, ond' io principio piglio, lo 

Pigliavano il vocanol della stella 

Che il sol vagheggia or da coppa or da ciglio. 

Consider on the first lines of these terzine the following 
marginal letters: 



Read: peremas 

But notice that on the first three terzine the letters read: 
sperma; and that on all four terzine the very letters which 
give: PEREMAS give: e sperma. 

The reader will bear in mind the sense of the text, which 
treats of the amorous, and will note especially the words: 
il folle amore raggiasse, an expression of love in relation to 
light which I hope this chapter may make clear. The terzina 
immediately following this passage, 13-1 5, is very suggestive; 
the words: salire in ella, as expressing the entrance into a 
female form, will prove to be consistent with the general sex 
symbolism of the poem. 

There is still another transmutation of peremas which I 
wish to show before going into the question of what these 
transmutations signify. The first three terzine of In/, iii are 
a unit in themselves, comprising the inscription over the 
gate of Hell. These terzine read as follows: 

Per me si va ndla cict& dolente, 
Per me si va nell' etemo dolore, 
Per me si va tra la perduta gente. 



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THE SEAL 2*5 

Giustizia mosse il mio alto fattore; 4 

Fecemi la divina potest ate. 
La somma sapienza e il primo amore. 

Dinanzi a me non fur cose create 7 

Se non eterne, ed 10 eterno duro: 
Lasciate ognj speranza voi ch' entratel 

Consider on all the lines of this passage the following 
marginal letters: 

1 PER ME SI VA 

2 PER ME SI VA 

3 PER ME SI VA 

4 CIUSTI 



Read: per me si va, per me si va, per me si va. 

DANTE SI PA sue SIGILLO 

Now in what form can the phrase: per he si va, three 
times repeated, be considered as the seal which Dante makes P 
The answer to this question is the fact that the letters of the 
phrase: per me si va are a transmutation of the letters in 
perehas VI. Peremas, the word which we have seen in so 
many cryptograms, is the seal of Dante. 

And just as the phrase: per me si va, may be transmuted 
into: PEREMAS vi, it may also be transmuted, first, into: vi 
era spem, and, second, into: vi e sperma. 

The explanation of these anagrammatic transmutations 
is the subject of the present chapter. 

Let us consider first the word: spem. Spem, or "hope," is 
one of the three theological virtues: faith, hope, and love (in 
the King James version of the English Bible they are called: 
faith, hope, and charity). These three virtues correspond to 
the three persons of the divine Trinity: Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



226 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

The correspondence of the three theological virtues to the 
three persons of the Trinity is apparent in Dante's indi- 
cation, in the inscription over the gate of Hell, of the Father 
as power, the Son as wisdom, and the Holy Ghost as love. 
Power is equivalent to mil, wisdom to intellect, and love to 
emotion. Thus expressed, therefore, the three persons of the 
Trinity correspond to the three categories of the mind: will, 
intellect, and emotion. To the father, as will, corresponds 
faith; to the son, as intellect, corresponds hope; and to the 
Holy Ghost, as emotion, corresponds love. 

The correspondence of faith to will appears in the fact 
that, as it is expressed in Baldwin's Dictionary of Philosophy 
and Psychology t article on Faith: "faith . . . may be 
defined as the personal acceptance of something as true or 
real ... on grounds that, in whole or in part, are different 
from those of theoretic certitude. ... The moment of 
will enters into the assent of faith . . ." 

The correspondence of hope to intellect appears in the fact 
that hope is expectation based on knowle{^e. The corres- 
pondence of love to emotion is self-evident: love is emotional, 
as distinguished from the voluntary character of faith and the 
intellectual character of hope. 

These correspondences were generally recognized in 
medieval philosophy; and they are implied in the anagram- 
matic appearance of spem in the seal of Dante. Dante is 
taking for his device the particular virtue of the divine Son 
and is therefore once more identifying himself with Christ. 

With the relation of spem to Christ thus established, it 
remains to establish the relation of spem to the sperma 
which appears with spem in the acrostic pekemas, the seal 
of Dante. The " hope *' of Christ is hope in his second coming, 
or, in other words, in his rebirth. Sperma is a symbol of 
birth, and it is to be considered here, therefore, as the symbol 
of moral rebirth, borrowed from the biological facta of 
physical birth. Christ, who in early symbolism is frequently 
represented as phallus, as in his symbol of the fish, is likewise 
SPERMA in the sense that he is to be reborn. In the appearance 
of sperma, therefore, in the seal of Dante, as his symbol. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL M7 

Dante is expressing the idea that he, like Christ, is to be 
reborn, and that he possesses within himself the means of 
his rebirth. 

Dante's use of such a symbol as his seal is not peculiar to 
him. Sexual, and, more particularly, phallic symbolism, was 
commonly used in heraldic devices in the Middle Ages. An 
instance is the lily of Florence, the fleur-de4ys^ which is a 
symbol of the phallic triad. 

Let us now turn back to the phrase: per me si va, which 
appears in the Inscription over the gate of Hell. This phrase, 
by which the gate of Hell is described, may be transmuted, 
as I have already shown, Into: peremas vi and vi e sperma. 

In describing the gate of Hell by the phrase: per me si va, 
which says, anagrammatically, that vi E sperma, Dante 
indicates, as corresponding to the male symbolism of sperma, 
x^c female symbolism of the gate of Hell. In other words, the 
gate of Hell, though which si va, is the opening through which 
the sperma passes into the female body of the earth, thence 
to be reborn from the central cavity of the earth, which is the 
womb of the earth, or Hell proper. 

The symbolism of Hell as the womb and of the gate of Hell 
as vulva is not confined to the Divina Commedia. It underlies, 
indeed, all primitive and early Christian ideas of the various 
abodes of the soul after death. This symboHsm becomes quite 
explicit in the saying of Tertullian: "Woman is the gate of 
Hell." But it has never been recognized, so far as I have been 
able to discover, that in the Divina Commedia the geography 
of Hell is based on a precise parallel between the structure 
of the earth and the structure of the female body. And this 
same parallel, indeed, is elaborated in the Divina Commedia 
in the structure of Purgatory and of Heaven. 



HELL 

The concept of the earth as mother earth is common to all 
peoples in all ages; the earth is the mother of all the life that 
swarms upon it. And as a corollary of this concept of the earth 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



m8 the cryptography of DANTE 

as mother is the concept of the grave, or of Hell, or whatever 
supposed abode of the dead is in the interior of the earth, as 
the womb of the earth, from which man emerges in birth and 
to which he returns in death. The desire to hve is probably 
the origin of the belief in a life after death, and this belief 
is rationalized in many myths which represent the abode of 
the dead as the womb from which the dead were bom in 
the first place and from which they are to be reborn. 

In the myths in which the abode of the dead is symbolized 
as the womb of the earth, the entrance of the dead into the 
grave, or Hell, is constantly symbolized as the sexual act. 
It is the reunion of the son with the mother in an act of incest 
which is to result in the rebirth of the son. This symbolism of 
Hell as the womb, and of the entrance of the soul into Hell, 
or of the entrance of the corpse into the grave, as sexual 
union of mother and son, is inherent in the Christian doctrine 
of the resurrection. Explicit association of Hell and the womb 
of the Virgin Mary may be found in Hans Schmidt's Jona. 

It is not strange, therefore, that the same symbolism 
should appear in the Divina Commedia. Dante simply 
borrowed the symbolism from earlier pagan and Christian 
sources; he elaborated it, however, with a precision of detail 
which is unique, I believe, in the history of Hterature. 

The female structure of Dante's earth, in the centre of 
which his Hell is situated, appears in the following parallel: 

Seha oscura. Inf. i. a. Pubic hair. 

irdiiettosQ monte. Inf. i. 77. Mons Veneris. 

The gate of Hell, Inf. iii. Vulva. 

The river Acheron, Inf. iii. 78. bodily streams, seminal, 
lacteal, urinary, and 
fecal. 
La proda . . . della voile Entrance of vagina. 

iTabisso dolorosa. Inf. iv. 7-8. 
La vialunga,\iyv/]xic\i the poets de- Vagina. 

scend from tYit proda, InJ. iv. 22. 
Un nobile castello, where there Clitoris. 

was lumiera. Inf. iv. 108. 



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THE SEAL 229 

Descent from the first circle to Continuation of vagina. 

the second circle, InJ. v. 1-2. 
L'entrata to the city of Dis, Inf. Cervix. 

viii. 81. 
The city of Dis, which Dante Uterus. 

enters, IrtJ. ix. 106. 

Let us now examine the course of Dante's journey through 
this female structure. 

In connection with the seha oscura, InJ. i. 2, is to be noticed 
the lagQ del cor. Inf. i. 20. The seha oscura is the place where 
Dante, in the poem, is symbolized as having just been bom; 
and the water symbolism of the lago del cor is analogous to the 
waters of the flood. The waters of the flood, in the Biblical 
account of Noah, are the amniotic fluid which accompanies 
the birth that the story of the flood symbolizes. The lago del 
cor, therefore, completes the birth symbolism of the opening 
lines of Inferno. 

Immediately after his birth as thus symbolized, Dante 
attempts to ascend the delectable mountain, a mother 
symbol; and the fears which beset him are his fears of the act 
of incest which the ascent symbolizes. 

The entrance of Dante, as sperma, into the female body of 
the earth is described in terms of coitus symbolism. Im- 
mediately before he arrives at the gate of Hell Dante says of 
himself, Inf. ii. 127-132: 

Quali i fioretti dal nottumo gelo 137 . 

Chinati e chiusi, poi che il Sol gl' imbianca, 

Si drizzan tutti aperti in loro stelo; 
Tal mi fee' io di mia virtute stanca: 130 

£ tanto buono ardire al cor mi corse, 

Ch' io cominciai come persona franca: 

This description of Dante's virtute stanca becoming like 
the little flowers which stand erect on their stem is phallic 
symbolism for the erection with which Dante enters the vulva 
of the earth, the gate of Hell. And in the description of the 
act of entering, the phallic symbolism is continued. Inf. 
iii, 19-21; Virgil, as Dante says, la sua mono alia mia pose 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



230 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

. . . and mi mise dentro. Dante, in other words, enters the 
gate of Hell as phallus and continues the journey as sperma. 
Immediately after the entrance, the coitus symbolism is 
continued with the most precise details. The tumultOy il qua/ 
i'aggira. Inf. iii. a8, progresses from noci alte efioche, e suon di 
man con eile, line 27, to a climax, just before passing the 
stream of the Acheron, which Dante describes in the follow- 
ing lines, InJ. iii. 130-136: 

Finito questo, la buia campagna 130 

Tremb si forte, che dello spavento 

La mente di sudore ancor mi bagna. 
La terra lagrimosa diede vento, 133 

Che balend una luce vermiglia, 

La qual mi vinse ciascun sentimento: 
E caddi, come 1' uom cui sonno piglia. 136 

The trembling, the sweat, the sighii^, the flash of red that 
overcomes all feeling, and the swoon, all preceding the 
moment in which the seminal stream Acheron is passed (i.e. 
passes) belong unmistakably to the description of an oi^asm. 

In his further descent through the female interior of the 
earth Dante proceeds like phallus and sperma. He dallies 
in the "noble castle," the clitoris, a spot of comparative 
pleasure and repose; and passes thence to the region where 
the souls of the incontinent are punished, InJ. v, by being 
borne convulsively on winds which symbolize the convulsive 
movements of the vagina. He reaches next the region in 
which the gluttonous are punished, a region in which 

Grandine grossa, e acqua tinta, e neve 
Per I'aer tenebroso si riversa: 
Pute la terra che questo riceve. 

— Inf. vi. 10-12. 

These lines symbolize the seminal rain which the earth, 
as the female symbol, receives. To be noted is the reference to 
smell in pute; the odor symbolism is consistently developed 
throughout Inferno. 

From the region of the gluttonous Dante passes to the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL aji 

shore of the Styx, one of the rivers of Hell, which forms a 
marsh, or lake, about the city of Dis (the uterus). This lake 
is another seminal symbol which corresponds to the English 
use of " lake" in the vocabulary of physiology. 

When Dante has passed the Styx he enters the uterine city 
of Dis. But his entrance into the city is obstructed by the 
Furies, who call on Medusa to come and turn him into stone. 
The danger from Medusa consists in the sight of her. Vii^il 
expresses this danger in the following words addressed to 
Dante, Inj. ix. 55-57: 

Volgiti indietro, e tien lo viso chiuso; 
Cti^ se il Gorgon si mostra, e tu il vndessi. 
Nulla sarebbe del tomar mai miso. 

The episode is so important for the symbolism of the poem 
that, after telling how Virgil covered Dante's eyes with his 
own hands, the poem continues with the well-known cryptic 
lines, Inf. ix. 61-63: 

O voi, che avete gl' intelletti sani, 
Mirate la dottrina che s'asconde 
Sotto il velame degU versi strani. 

The forgoing episode and the reference to the "hidden 
doctrine" have never been satisfactorily explained. They 
become clear by considering, as I have suggested. Hell as the 
symbol of the mother and Dante's act of entering Hell as the 
sexual act, by which he commits incest as a means of rebirth. 

The incestuous character of the act is here indicated by 
Dante in the reference, InJ. ix. 54, to the assault of Theseus. 
The reference is to the descent into the lower regions which 
Theseus made in order to carry off Proserpine, the wife of 
Pluto, the king of the lower r^on. As the wife of the god, 
Proserpine represents the mother whom the human son 
attempts to separate from the jealous father and appropriate 
to himself. This attempt symbolizes an attempted act of 
incest. 

The danger in which Dante stood of being turned into 
stone is a symbolical use of the so-called lithopaedion. A 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



232 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

lithopaedion is a foetus calcified in the womb of its mother. 
If Dante, as foetus in the womb of the city of Dis, should be 
turned into stone, i.e. become a lithopaedion, he could never 
be reborn. 

The dottrina che s'asconde in the whole episode is a reference 
to incest as a means of rebirth. The mother, who is here 
symbolized by the regina delFetemo pianio. Inf. ix. 44, and 
also by her surrogate, Medusa, is not to be seen! She is not 
to be seen because it must not be the visible human mother 
with whom the act of incest is to be committed, but the divine 
mother who is invisible. In other words, Dante, in his 
journey to rebirth, must not be conceived by her, but by her 
better counterpart, the mother whom he finds at the end of 
his journey through Hell. 

Dante is here signifying that the incest by which his re- 
birth is accomplished has nothing to do with the physical 
act between human mother and human son; he is signify- 
ing that the incest to which he refers is a symbol of the 
spiritual process by which a man may return to the divine 
source of life itself, the divine mother from whom he and all 
mankind are born. If she should become visible, that is, if 
she, as the divine mother, should become confused with her 
visible form in the actual human mother and so be identi6ed 
by the poet-son with his human mother, the symbolized 
incest would become dangerous in the sense of becoming a 
physical, instead of a spiritual, fact. 

In connection with Medusa as the mother whom Dante 
is not permitted to see, it may be noted that a similar 
symbolism seems to be suggested at the end oi Par. xxv and 
at the beginning oi Par. xxvi. It is recorded in these passages 
that, when Dante turns to look at Beatrice, his sight is 
"quenched." Beatrice, as I shall prove in the next chapter, is 
the symbol of his mother, and I suggest that the reason that 
his sight is here "quenched" is to prevent his looking upon 
his mother with illicit, or too physical, affection, just as he 
had been prevented by the hands of Virgil from looking upon 
the mother image of Medusa. Certainly an association of the 
temporary blindness in the incident in Paradiso with the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 233 

covering of his eyes at the approach of Medusa seems to be 
su^ested by the acrostic on the first three lines oi Par. xxvi, 
in which Dante refers to his viso spento: 

Mentr' io dubbiava per lo viso spento, 
Delia fulgida fiamma che lo spense 
Use! un spiro che mi fece attento. 

Consider the following marginal letters of these lines; 

I ME 

3 "S 
Read: medus 

Now notice the passage at the end of the preceding canto, 
Par. XXV. 130-139: 

A guesta voce 1' infiammato giro 130 

Si quiet6 con esso il dolce mischio, 

Che si facea del suon del trino spiro, 
SI come, per cessar fatica o rischio, 133 

Lt remi pria nell' acqua ripercossi 

Tutti si posan al sonar d' un tischio. 
Ahi quanto nella meme mi commossi, 136 

Quando mi volsi per veder Beatrice, 

Per non poter vedere, ben ch' io fossi 
Presso di lei, e nel mondo felicel 139 

Consider the following marginal tetters on the last line of 
the canto and on the first lines of the three preceding terzine: 
130 A 
133 SI 
136 A 

139 PRESS 

Read: pressa sia 

Dante is near Beatrice but he cannot see her, so that the 
wish expressed in the cryptogram: "May she be near," is 
appropriate to the text. 

Analogous to Medusa as a mother symbol are the bird-like 
Harpies who inhabit the bosco. Inf. xiii. The forest is used as a 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



134 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

mother symbol in three important passages in the Divina 
Commedia: the seha oscura. Inf. i, the divina foresta, Purg. 
xxviii, and the hoseo. The mother symbolism of the Harpies, 
as well as of the bosco, is indicated in the following interior 
sequence, Inf. xiii. 9-13: 

9 tra oeolnA e oorneto 1 luosbi colti 

10 quivi le bruttE arpie lor nidi fanno 

11 ohe oacoiar delle stRofade 1 troiani 

12 oon tristo annunzio di fuTuro danno 

13 ali hanno late e colli e visi ullani 

Read a of cecina, 9; e of h-uUe, 10; r of slro/ade, 1 1 ; t of 
futuro, i2;Hof umani, ijtmatre. 

Associated with the hostile, or dangerous, mother is the 
hostile or dangerous father in his guise as lion. He has already 
appeared as the lion in In/, i. He appears again in an acrostic 
on the passage in which Dante hears but is not permitted 
to see Medusa — the passage which begins with one of the 
most significant of Dante's cryptic hints, InJ. ix. 61-72: 

O vol che avete gl' intelletti sani, 61 

Mirate la dottrina che s' asconde 

Sotto il velame degll versi strani. 
£ giil venia su per le torbid' onde 64 

Un fracasso a' un suon pien di spavento, 

Per cui tremavano ambedue le sponde; 
Non altrimenti fatto che d' un vento 67 

Impetuoso per gli avversi ardori, 

Che tier la selva, e senza alcun rattento 
Li rami schianta, abbatte, e porta fuori. 70 

Dinanzi potveroso va superbo, 

E fa fuggir le fiere e li pastori. 

Consider on the first lines of these four terzine the following 
marginal letters: 
61 o 

64 E 
67 N 
70 U 

Read: uone 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 135 

Now let us return to Dante's journey in Inferno. The gate 
of the city of Dis is finally opened to Dante by a mysterious 
personage, del del messo^ of whom Dante says, InJ. ix. 88-90: 

Ahi quanto mi parea pien di disdegnol 
Venne alia porta, e con una verghetta 
L'aperse, clie non ebbe alcun ritegno. 

The identity of this personage is one of the mysteries of 
the Dioina Commedia. That he is important for the sym- 
bolism of the poem is indicated by the acrostic on the terzina 
just quoted. Consider on the three lines the following 
marginal letters: 



Read: vela 

This personage veils, as I believe, Dante himself. As 
someone del ciel messo he is the same as the dvx, who is 
designated, Purg. xxxiii. 44, as messo da Dio. The verghetta is 
his phallic symbol, which opens the female gate. Notice that 
the initials of the three lines of this terzina, in which the 
opening of the gate is described, are a, or i; v, or 5; and l, 
or 50. They make, without the zero, the cryptic 515. This 
same number appears in terzina 82-84, ^'^ which the 
mysterious personage is described. The initials of the three 
lines of this terzina are: 



S3 


D 


or 500 


83 


M 


or 1000 


84 


E 


or 5 



With the zeroes omitted, these numbers again give the 
cryptic 515 in association with the mysterious personage, who 
represents the divine power of the symbolized sexual act of 
Dante. Consider the following marginal letters of this 
terzina: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



236 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



83 M 

84 E 

Read: me, d . . . a . . . 

Dante thus indicates himself by his initials. In the present 
guise Dante is thus analogous to Mercury with the phallic 
caduceus, who is the phaUic personification of Jupiter. He is 
also analogous to Gabriel at the annunciation with the 
phallic lily, who is the phalHc personification of the divine 
father in the Christian story of the birth of Christ. 

With Dante thus inside the uterine city of Dis, it remains 
for us to examine the manner of his exit from it; this exit, 
as I shall show, symbolizes his deHvery from the uterus in the 
sense of his being at last reiom. 

In the center of the city of Dis, in the lowest spot of Hell, 
stands Lucifer, the imperador del doloroso regno. When Dante 
sees him he becomes, through iQar,gefato e^oco,In/. xxxiv. 22 : 

Com' io divenni allor gelato e fioco, 22 

Nol domandar, Lettor, ch' io non lo scrivo, 
Per& ch' ogni parlar sarebbe poco. 

Io non morii, e non rimasi vivo: 25 

Pensa oramai per te, s' hai fior d' ingegno, 
Qual io divenni, d' uno e d' altro pnvo. 

In these cryptic words, which should be examined with 
particular care, the reader is adjured to think for himself 
what Dante then became, since Dante himself will not write it. 

What was it, then, that Dante became, if he was here 
neither dead nor alive ? The only condition which may be 
considered as neither dead nor alive is the foetal condition, 
and Dante is saying here that in the presence of Lucifer he 
became a foetus. This intetpretation is confirmed by the 
interior sequences in the passage: 

22 com'io divenni allor gelaTO E Fiooo 

23 nol domandar letTOr ch'io NON lo scrivo 

24 pEro ch'ogni parlar sarebbE poco 

25 io non morii e non rimasi VIVO 

26 pensa oramai per te s'hai Fior d'ingegno 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 237 

Notice first that in the words gelato e Jioco, line 12, the 

letters of feto are grouped together, thus: (gela)TO e F{ioco). 

Now read from f oifioco, 11% to oi letioTt 23; e oipero, 24: 

FETO. 

Read, in a vertical line, from to oi gelato, 22; non, 23; 
final E oi sarebbCf 24; vivo, 25; f oijior, 26: feto non vivo. 

It is therefore as a foetus that Dante, clinging to Virgil, 
is carried by Virgil, climbing down the sh^gy sides of 
Lucifer, to a spot from which they seem to Dante to begin to 
climb up again. Dante imagines that they are climbing back 
from this spot to where he has been before. But, as he after- 
wards learns, the spot is the center of gravity, i.e., the center 
of the earth; and therefore, in continuing still in the same 
direction toward the southern side of the earth, the poets 
have to begin to climb instead of continuing to descend. 
Such is the apparent meaning of the spot by which Dante 
becomes confused. 

That the spot has some deeper symbolism is indicated by 
the words which Dante addresses to the reader in r^ard to it. 
Inf. xxxiv. 91-93: 

E s' io divenni allora travagliato, 

La Kente grossa it pensi, che non vede 

Qua! h quel punto ch' io avea passato. 

What Dante means to indicate here is that the punto 
which he passed is the pene of Lucifer. It must be re- 
membered that Lucifer is standing in Hell in such a position 
that his genitals are exactly at the centre of the earth and so 
at the centre of gravity. Dante, who, at the sight of Lucifer, 
became feto, must now have become sperma again in order 
to pass through the pene of Lucifer into the cavity below. 

That Dante means the pene as the mysterious punto 
which he passed should be apparent in the words in which he 
refers to it, lines 91-93. Travagliato, Hne 91, has a double 
meaning referring to coitus, and gente grossa has a double 
meaning referring to pregnancy. The verb for gente grossa is 
pensi, line 92, which is an anagram for penis, and which is 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



238 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

in addition the word on which terminate three interior 
sequences spelling: pehe. They appear as follows: 

90 E vidlli le gaobe In su tenere 

91 e s'io divENnl allora travagliato 

92 la gENte grossa 11 PEHal ohe non vede 

93 qual e quel Pun to ch'io avea passato 

94 lErati su dlsae il maEstro in piede 

Read fVom the e, initial of line 90; en of divenni, 91 ; p of 
pensiy 92: PEKE. 

Read from en of the same word, penst, 92; p ofpun/o, gy, 
E oi levati, 94: pehe. 

Read EN o( genie, 92; p ofpunto, 93; e of maestro, 94: pene. 

In addition to the sequences, the three terzine in which 
they appear. Inf. xxxiv. 8S-99, contain an acrostic: 

lo levai gli occhi, e credetti vedere 88 

Lucifero com' io I' avea lasciato, 

E vidili le gambe in su tenere. 
E s' io divenni allora travagliato, 91 

La eente grossa il pensi, che non vede 

Qua! h quel punto ch' io avea passato. 
'Levati su,' disse il Maestro, 'in piede: 94 

La via i lunga e il cammino h malvagio, 

E gift il sole a mezza terza riede.' 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
these three terzine: 



Read: elios 

The initials of the lines of the first terzina of the foregoing 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL «39 

Eli is God the father, and Lucifer is not only an aspect of 
Christ as the fallen son, but also an aspect of God the father 
in that he is emperor of the nether world. 

The acrostic elios is thus associated with Lucifer in his 
Hnal appearance in the poem, just as the acrostic sole is 
associated with Lucifer in his first appearance. The interior 
sequences spelling pene in the passage containing the 
acrostic elios point to the phallic symbolism of the sun in 
the penetrating power of its tight. I have already referred to 
this symbolism, and I shall have to develop it further in 
connection with the sex symbolism of Paradise. 

It is of the highest importance to notice that Dante, in 
passing through the pene of Lucifer, must biologically, have 
been reduced to sperma, the significant word that appears 
in his seal. He starts in the poem as omo; he then becomes 
FETO; and finally sperma. In this succession of changes 
Dante reverses in his journey through Hell the natural order 
by which he was, in his origin, first sperma, then petd, and 
finally OMO. The journey through Hell is thus a retrogression 
by which Dante retraces the successive stages of his develop- 
ment as a human being; he returns to his original condition 
as sperma in the body of the father symbolized here as 
Lucifer, in order that he may make a fresh start on the 
cammin di nostra vita, in order, in other words, that he may 
be born again. This backward course through the successive 
stages of the natural evolution of a human being is expressed 
by Dante as a universal tendency; he defines this idea in the 
Convivio, iv. 12, 138, when he says, in words that should 
never be forgotten in connection with the Divina Commedta, 
that ilsommo desiderio di ciascuna cosa, e prima dalla Natura 
dato^ i h ritomare al suo Principio. 

This statement that the supreme desire of everything is to 
return to its source is a rationalization of the desire to return 
to the mother as the source of life. 

After Dante has retrt^essed from omo to feto and 
finally to sperma in Inferno, he reverses the process and 
prc^esses, in the final lines of the final canto, from sperma 
to new-born man. The importance of the final lines of Inf. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



240 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

xxxiv is not sufficiently appreciated; I wish therefore to call 
attention to the geography of the region through which they 
describe Dante as passing after he leaves Lucifer. 

On his journey from the centre of the earth, where he 
leaves Lucifer, to the surface of the southern hemisphere, 
where he emerges on the shore of the island of Purgatory, 
Dante passes first a/oro d'un sasso. Inf. xxxiv. 85; then a 
natural burella, line 98; then la buca d'un sasso^ line 131, 
through which descends a stream along a cammino ascoso, 
line 133; and finally, at the end of the cammino ascoso, a 
pertugio tondo, through which Dante emeiges to the surface 
of the earth. 

Now it must be observed that this interior between the 
centre of the earth and the southern hemisphere is a duplicate 
of the interior of Hell, which is between the centre of the 
earth and the northern hemisphere. 

The pertugio tondoy at the surface of the southern hemi- 
sphere, corresponds to the gate of Hell, at the surface of the 
northern hemisphere. 

The cammino ascoso, with the stream in it, corresponds to 
the course which Dante follows in Hell from the gate of 
Hell to the gate of the city of Dis. 

The iuca d'un sasso, through which the stream descends 
from this hidden way to the centre of the earth, corresponds 
to the gate of the city of Dis. 

The natural burella corresponds to the city of Dis. 

The Joro d'un sasso, through which Dante emerges in 
leaving Lucifer, is the southern end of a cylindrical hole in the 
rock in which Lucifer is placed with his feet at the southern 
end and his head emerging from the northern end. Lucifer is 
erect in this hole, which is a female symbol, in an eternal act 
of copulation. This/oro d'un sasso is the opening which con- 
nects the interior of Hell with the southern interior of the 
earth, and belongs, accordingly, to them both in common. 
The fact that the genitals of Lucifer are situated at the center 
of gravity, and so at the center of the universe, indicates the 
central importance of the sexual life in Dante's symbolism. 
In Dante's universe there exists a detailed parallel between 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 241 

its physical structure and laws and its spiritual structure and 
laws; the physical center of gravity is to be understood, 
accordingly, as corresponding to the spiritual center of 
gravity. The lowest point in tht universe, in other words, is 
the symbol of the lowest moral value, and corresponds to the 
sexual nature of man, as symbolized by the genitals. This 
symbolism is apparent in medieval charts showing the 
human body as the microcosm of the universe considered as 
the macrocosm. In these charts of the human body as a 
repetition in parvo of the universe the genitals are definitely 
shown as corresponding to the center of gravity. 

The interior extending from the centre of the earth to the 
southern hemisphere is, as I have now shown, similar in 
structure to the interior of Hell. And these two interiors have 
likewise a similar symbolism. The pertugio tondo corresponds 
to the vulva; the cammino ascoso to the vagina; the buca eTun 
sasso to the cervix; and the natural burella to the uterus. The 
foro d'un sasso, in which Dante sees Lucifer's feet, is the 
southern end of a cylindrical passage by which the southern 
interior and Hell are connected; it is therefore repeated by a 
similar /oro tfun sasso at the northern end, through which 
the upper part of Lucifer emei^es. The southern interior is 
thus an exact counterpart of the interior of Hell and, accord- 
ingly, a geographical symbol of the mother. 

From the mother region of Hell, therefore, Dante is ejected, 
as SPERMA, by the agency of the father figures of Lucifer 
and Virgil, into the mother region of the southern interior; 
and in his brief passage through the southern interior Dante 
must be supposed to be transformed successively, by the 
process of gestation, from sperma to feto and from feto 
once more to omo, the reborn man who is now prepared to 
continue the ascent to God. Having entered the gate of Hell 
by an act of incest, Dante emerges from the pertugio tondo, 
the counterpart of the gate of Hell as a symbol of the vulva, 
by the act of birth, which is here, for Dante, rebirth. 

It is evident from the foregoing interpretation of the two 
interiors of the earth that the earth, as Dante describes it, 
is to be considered as two mothers, or as a dual mother. This 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



242 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

symbolism of the interior of the earth as two mothers, or as a 
dual mother, is repeated by Dante in his description of the 
surface of the earth, which he divides as land in the northern 
hemisphere and water in the southern hemisphere, both land 
and water being symbols, and contrasting symbols, of the 
mother. The dual motherhood of the earth corresponds to 
the conception of the two mothers, good and evil, to which I 
have already referred as existing in myths of rebirth. Dante's 
symbolism of the dual character of the earth as mother is 
derived in the first place, I believe, from the Pythagorean 
doctrine of two earths^ the earth and the counter earth, 
Antictona^ which Dante discusses and rejects in a highly 
significant way in the Conoivio, iii. 5, 29 fT. For my interpre- 
tation of Dante's symbolism of the surface of the earth as a 
dual mother, see pp. 267-75. 

The cylindrical hole in the rock in which Lucifer stands 
at the center of the earth opens into each of the interiors 
symbolizing the two mothers; it is, therefore, the organ which 
they possess in common and by which they are connected. 
It corresponds, not to any physical conformation in the 
female body, but to the function whereby the sperma which 
is received by one aspect of the mother is transformed and 
delivered by the other aspect of the mother. 

In the passage of the son from one mother to the other 
through this opening there is signified the death of the son in 
the mother whom he leaves at the moment of his hirtA in the 
mother whom he enters. Death and birth are thus synony- 
mous terms, and the ambivalence of these two states is of 
the highest importance in the symbolism of the Divina 
Commedia. Dante develops this ambivalence throughout his 
poem with the greatest precision. The eternal existence of 
man is a series of deaths which are deaths in one mother and 
births in the other; existence thus alternates between the two 
mothers exactly as the sun is described in the passage just 
referred to in the Conoivio as alternating between the two 
mother cities, Maria and Lucia, which Dante, in discussing 
the Pythagorean doctrine of the earth and the counter earth, 
imagines to be situated at the two poles of the earth. These 



)doyGoO(^lc 



THE SEAL 243 

successive eiustences of the individual in the two mothers 
between whom he alternates is an expression by Dante of the 
Pythagorean metempsychosis, or "wheel of birth;" and it is 
in this sense that Dante's successive existences in Earth, 
Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise are to be understood. This 
succession of existences is analogous to the successive revolu- 
tions of the sun, which is forever alternately above the earth 
and below the earth, and forever alternating, in the summer 
and winter solstices, between the north and the south poles of 
the earth. 



PURGATORY 

Dante's symbolism of Hell as the mother is repeated in his 
symboHsm of Purgatory as the mother. With the difference 
that Hell is situated in the interior of the earth and Purgatory 
on the surface of the earth, the female physiology of Purga- 
tory is strictly parallel to the female physiology of Hell. 

Dante's Pulsatory is a mountain on an island. As an 
island, Purgatory is thus related to the classical conception 
of the abode of the dead in the Blessed Isles. The Blessed 
Isles were supposed to lie somewhere in the west; they are a 
development of the sun myth, representing the spot where 
the sinking sun enters the earth in the evening in order to be 
reborn the following morning. The island is thus the symbol 
of the female organ by which the incestuous son, in the sun 
myths, enters the body of the mother. 

As a mountain. Purgatory is related to the common con- 
ception of sacred mountains where the gods and the spirits 
of men were supposed to dwell. Such mountains appear in the 
classical Olympus and the Teutonic Venusberg, in which 
especially the mother symbolism is manifest in the fact that 
the mountain is the dwelling place of the mother goddess. 
The mountain is, indeed, one of the preeminent symbols of 
motherhood; the analogy between mountain and mother 
which underlies this symbolism is to be found in the Mons 
Veneris, the breast, and the swelling of pregnancy. The 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



244 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

mountain as a birthplace is developed with curious elabor- 
ation by Dante himself in his reference to the birth of Jupiter, 
Inf, xiv. And as the mother of Christ, the Virgin Mary is 
constantly likened to a mountain in early Christian liter- 
ture.* Compare in Purg. xxii. 104-105, the words: 

del monte 
Che sempre ha le nutrici nostre seco. 

There is another indication of the mother symbolism of 
Dante's Purgatory in the shape which he gives it. Purgatory 
is a truncatwi cone with terraces, exactly like the Tower of 
Babel. The mother symbolism of the Tower of Babel is not, 
perhaps, commonly recc^nizcd; this symbolism is manifest, 
however, in the fact that the Tower was intended to be the 
means by which the builders were to ascend from Earth to 
Heaven, exactly as Purgatory -for Dante is the efficient means 
of ascent. The ascent from Earth to Heaven is the equivalent 
of rebirth; and as the instrument of rebirth, Purgatory, like 
theTower of Babel which it resembles in shape, is the symbol 
• of the mother. This interpretation of the mother symbolism 
of the Tower of Babel is confirmed by the comparison in the 
Song 0/ Songs, of the Shulamite, commonly accepted as a 
symbol of the Virgin Mary and of the church, to a tower, 
and by the constant use of the tower as a symbol of the Virgin 
Mary in medieval Christian literature. The mother sym- 
bolism of the tower, or of the Tower of Babel in particular, is 
apt to be disregarded on account of its more obvious phallic 
symbolism, based on its phalHc shape. But like so many 
symbols, the tower is ambivalent; it symbolizes in a single 
image both the means of rebirth, as uterus, and the being who 
is to be reborn, as phallus. 

That Dante had the mother symbolism of the Tower of 
Babel in mind appears from the cryptograms contained in 
the passage in which he describes Nimrod, the builder of the 
Tower of Babel. At the sight of Dante Nimrod utters a cry 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



which is commonly r^arded by the commentators as pure 
gibberish, Inf. xxxi. 67: 

Rafel mai amech izabi* almi. 

These words are a prayer; the proof that they are a prayer 
is to be found both in their meaning as a cryptogram and in 
the acrostic on the passage in which they appear. Let me 
show first the acrostic on the first lines of the four terane 
beginning with the line in question. Inf. xxxi. 67-78 : 

'Rafel mai amech izabi almi,' 67 

Comincid a gridar la fiera bocca, 

Cui non si convenian piil dolci salmi. 
E il Duca mio ver lui: 'Anima sciocca, 70 

Tienti col como, e con quel ti disfoga, 

Quand' tra o altra passion ti tocca. 
Cercati al collo, e troverai la soga 73 

Che il tien legato, o anima confusa, 

E vedi lui che il gran petto ti doga.' 
Poj disse a me: 'Egli stesso s' accusa; 76 

Questi ft Nembrotto, per lo cui mai coto 

Pure un linguaggio nel mondo non s' usa. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
these terzine: 



73 CE 
76 p 

Read: prece 

In view of this su^estion that the words: Rafel mai amech 
izabi aimi, are a prayer, it may not be surprising that they 
yield, as a fryptc^ram, the name of the person to whom the 
prayer is addresswl. Consider the initials of these words: 

*Moon read>: «aK I have adcKtted the reading iitUti of Toynbec, Canni, 
Polacco, and other*. The ayUable t it aeceaaary (or the acauioii. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



246 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



Read: maria 

The acrostic is an invocation of the divine mother. 
The prayer itself appears in the initial and contiguous 
letters of the words of the "gibberish" Hne, as follows: 



RAFEL 


R 


MAI 


M 


AMECH 


AME 


IZABI 


I 


ALMI 


A 


Read: mira a 


ME 



The prayer, addressed to Maria, is that she should have 
regard for the suppliant. 

Since the words of this line are a pure invention of Dante, 
they permit him complete freedom in turning them to 
cryptographic purposes. This freedom in the formation of the 
words themselves accounts for the superficial nonsense of the 
words and for the profound and diversified cryptographic use 
of them. For we have not yet exhausted the cryptc^raphic 
significance of this line. Consider in the words of the line the 
following telestic and contiguous letters: 

RAFEL EL 

MAI MAI 

AMECH CH 

IZABI ABI 

ALMI ALMI 

Read: chiami mia bella 

Thus the very words which yield as an acrostic the name of 
the divine mother, Maria, yield in the telestic reading the 
name of the mother of Dante. It is as if Dante, when he 
heard Nimrod calling maria in the acrostic, explained to 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 247 

Nimrod in the telestic that the maria whom he is calling 
is the same as sella. Thus Maria and Bella are expressly 
identified. Presented as they are together in two cryptograms 
contained in the same words, they represent the mother in 
her dual character. This identification of Maria and Bella 
as the divine and the human form of the mother will be 
developed in the next chapter. 

It was in punishment of the impiety of Nimrod's act, as 
builder of the Tower of Babel, by which he strove to ascend 
into Heaven, that 

Pure un linguaggio nel mondo non s'usa. 

This reference to the fact that only one language is not used 
in the world may be taken as a hint of the use of crypt<^aphy. 

The symbolism of the Tower of Babel is fundamentally 
incest symbolism. To ascend into Heaven is to enter the 
symbol of the mother. It is appropriate, therefore, to the 
character of Nimrod that his prayer is addressed to the 
divine mother Maria and that he beseeches her to have regard 
for him. 

The analogies which suggest the mother symbolism of 
Purgatory are confirmed by the precise parallel which Dante 
establishes between the structure of Purgatory and the 
structure of the female body. At the beginning of Purgatorio 
Dante is to be considered as having just been reborn from 
Hell, exactly as at the beginning of Inferno he is to be con- 
sidered as having just been bom on earth. The parallel be- 
tween the structure of Hell and the structure of Purgatory in 
terms of the female body may be shown as follows: 

The sea, referred to as mar s\ Amniotic fluid. Cf. lago 

crudele, Purg. i. 3. del cor. Inf. i. 20. 

The giunchiy the reeds which Pubic hair. Cf. seha 

fringe the shore, Purg. i. 102. oscura. Inf. i. 2. 

The piU iieve sa/ita of the moun- Mons Veneris. Cf. // di~ 

tain, Purg. i. 108, which Dante lettoso monte. Inf. i. 77. 

is directed to ascend and which 

he begins to ascend in J'Hr^. iii. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



248 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



The narrow ctJla through which 
Dante passes at the foot of the 
mountain into Purgatory from 
the shore, Purg. iv. 22. 

The ascent from the narrow 
openii^ to the Valley of the 
Princes, Purg. vii. 

Valley of the Princes, Purg. vii. 

■ Ascent from the Valley of the 
Princes to the gate of Purg-- 
atory proper, Purg. vii-ix. 

Gate to Purgatory proper, Purg. 
ix. 76. 

Purgatory proper, Purg. x-xxvii. 



Vulva. Cf. gate of Hell, 
Inf. iii. 



Entrance of vagina. Cf. 
the passage iroxn the 
gate of Hell to the 
nohile casteHo, Inf. iii. 
iv. 

Clitoris. Cf. nohile caS' 
tello. Inf. iv. 108. 

Vagina. Cf. descent from 
the nohile castello to the 
gate of the city of Dis, 
Inf. v-vii. 

Cervix. Cf. gate to the 
city of Dis (Hell 
proper). Inf. vm. 

Uterus. Cf. city of Dis, 
Inf. ix-xxxiv. 



The significance of these parallels, as pointing to the 
mother symbolism of Purgatory, is unmistakable. The 
stream symbolism which we found in Hell, and which must be 
considered not only as seminal and lacteal but also as urinary 
and fecal, is represented in Purgatory by Lethe and Eunoe. 
This confusion of the seminal stream with the lacteal, the 
urinary, and the fecal appears not only in primitive myth but 
also in unconscious fantasies, as in dreams. The four-fold 
aspect of the stream symbolism appears in the Biblical 
account of the Garden of Eden, from which four streams 
flowed. 

Immediately after the rebirth of Dante on the shore of 
Purgatory Virgil washes the face of Dante; this washing is 
analogous, indeed, to the washing of the new-born child, 
and especially analogous to the rite of baptism as a symbolic 
imitation of birth. 

Before Dante reaches the entrance to Pui^tory, the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 349 

entrance which, as I said, symbolizes the vulva and which he 
enters as by a sexual act, there is suggested the erection 
symbolism which we saw in the reference to the stem of the 
flowers, Inf. ii. 129, before his approach to the gate of Hell. 
This su^estion appears in these lines, Pur^, iii. 12-15: 

La mente mia che prima era ristretta, 
Lo intento rallar^ii, si come vaga, 
E diedi il viso mio incontro al poggio, 
Che inverso il ciel piil alto si dislaga. 

This description of his mind parallels the description of 
his drooping courage, in the passage in /«/. ii, which became 
like the flowers erect on their stem. 

The entrance itself into I*urgatory is described, Purg. 
iv. 19-21, in terms which surest its symbolism: 

Magglore aperta molte volte impruna 

Con una forcatella di sue spine 

L'uom della villa, quando 1 uva imbruna. 

The allusion to an opening which a man impruna with his 
spine is obviously capable of a double meaning. Consider 
uie following mai^nal letters of this terzina: 



Read: colma 

This reference to a climax may be understood as sym- 
bolical of the sexual act. 

The coitus symbolism of Dante's passage through the 
calla is expressed by le plume tie! gran disio which the ascent 
through the passage requires and also by the following lines, 
Par^.iv. 31-33: 

Noi salivam* per entro il sasso rotto 
E d' o^i lato ne stringea lo stremo, 
E piedi e man volvea il suol di sotto. 

The pressing of the walls of the opening upon the body 

'Moore read*: zaiawim, an obvious misprint. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



2SO THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

passing through it and the attitude of the hands and feet 
indicate the sexual character of the act. The phalhc sytn- 
boUsm in the passage is further indicated by the acrostic on 
the three hnes of the terzina in question. Consider the follow- 
ing marginal letters on these lines: 



33 E P 

Read: PENE 

Dante is the pene In the sex symbolism of passing through 
the opening of the mother-mountain. 

The female symbolism of the Valley of the Princes appears 
in the allusion to it as a gremio, Purg. v'n. 68, a word that is 
repeated in describing the guardian angels as coming from the 
grembo di Maria, Purg. viii. 37; in the hymn to the Virgin 
Mary, Purg. vii. line 82; in the entrance of the serpent, Purg. 
viii. 98, into the grembo — the serpent, which is likened to the 
serpent that tempted Eve, being certainly phallic; and in the 
pleasant sleep in the grembo. The symbolism of the Valley of 
the Princes is developed with an abundance of detail into 
which I have no time to go. 

The character of Dante's sojourn in the Valley of the 
Princes is expressed in the dream which he had there. In this 
dream, which is described in Purg. ix, Dante seemed to be 
carried away by an eagle up to the fire. That this eagle is a 
symbol of the mother with whom incest is suggested by the 
fire to which she carries him, should be evident from the 
mother symbolism which I have already shown in the eagle 
in Par. xviii and following (see pp. 2or-ii). The eagle in the 
passages in Paradiso appears indeed as a composite symbol 
of the family triad. In the present instance its symbolism is 
determined as maternal by the act of carrying the child. 
Dante's allusion to the "mother," Purg. ix. 37, immediately 
on wakening, proves that he intends the mother symbolism 
in the dream. 

The coitus symbolism of Dante's passage through the gate 
to Purgatory proper is indicated by the convulsive move- 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 251 

ment of the rock through which he passes inunediately 
beyond the gate, Purg. x. 7-9, and in the allusion to the moon 
regaining its bed, line 15. The moon, on account of its waxing 
and waning as in pr^nancy, is one of the supreme symbols of 
the mother in ancient and medieval symbolism. But here 
again I am obliged to forego developing in detail the sym- 
bolism of the gate and of Dante's passage through it. 

1 wish, however, as more particularly pertaining to the 
cryptography of the Divina Commedia, to call attention to 
the seven p's which the angel cuts on the forehead of Dante 
and directs him to wash off. The letter p is generally sup- 
posed to stand for the Italian word for sini peccato; and the 
seven p's to stand, thus, for the seven so-called mortal sins. 
I am convinced that this explanation of the seven p's, correct 
though it may be for the mere manifest meaning, does not go 
to the root of Dante's symbolism. 

Considering the sex symbolism of the poem, I suggest 
that Dante intends the letter p as the phallic symbol which 
it was recognized to be. The letter p is the shape of the Greek 
letter for r, which appears in variations of the so-called crux 
ansata: 



This cross is a monogram composed of the first two letters 
of the name of Christ according to the Greek spelling: 
XPISTOZ. But the symboUsm of the forms in this cross is 
much older than the date of Christ. This cross, indeed, was 
first associated with Osiris. The p, or, as here, the Greek letter 
for R, is not only the complete phallic shape; it is also the 
shape of a key; and the phallus as the key which opens the 
female door is an ancient and wide-spread conception. That 
Dante here intends the p to represent a key is indicated by 
the reference which the angel makes to keys immediately 
after he has cut the p's on Dante's forehead. 

The use of the p su^ests here, therefore, by virtue of its 
appearing in the crux ansata as a monc^ram of Christ, the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



252 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Christlike character of Dante's journey; and by its being a 
symbol of the phallus as key, the p suggests here also the 
sexual character of this journey. 

The seven p's as phallus surest the seven acts of creation, 
which are recorded in the seven days of creation and sym- 
bolized in the phallic seven branched candlestick. The words 
with which the angel directs Dante to wash the "wounds" 
of the seven p's have a double meaning. He says, Purg. ix. 
113-114: 

Fa che lavi, 
Quando sei dentro, queste piaghe. 

In the double meaning of these words, there is a reference 
to the sexual act which Dante is to perform when he is 
dentro, the sexual act, seven times repeated, as in the creation 
of the world, whereby he is to recreate himself. 

Having penetrated into the womb, or Purgatory proper, 
of the Pui^atorial mother, Dante passes from the womb of 
Purgatory into the womb of the Terrestrial Paradise. His 
passage from womb to womb thus symbolized is accom- 
plished by an arduous prt^ess through a wall of fire, Purg, 
xxvii, and the ascent of a stairway from the top step of which 
the Terrestrial Paradise opens out. 

The progress through the wall of fire and the ascent of the 
stairway symbolize the passage of Dante as sperma from the 
Pui^atorial mother into the motherlike Terrestrial Paradise. 
This passage is exactly analogous to his passage via Lucifer 
from Hell to the southern interior of the earth; and just as 
we saw that Dante was reduced to the condition of sperma 
before passing from Hell to the southern interior of the earth, 
he must likewise be considered here, in the uppermost terrace 
of Purgatory, as having been reduced to sperma in order to 
pass from Purgatory to the Terrestrial Paradise. 

The retrogressive character of the ascent of the mountain 
of Purgatory, disguised as a progress from the greater sinftil- 
ness of the lower cornices to the lesser sinfulness of the higher, 
must not be overlooked. For just as Dante has retrogressed in 
Hell to the original evil in man, so here in Pulsatory he 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 253 

retn^esses to man's original sinlessness, as exemplified in the 
condition of Adam in the Terrestrial Paradise before the fall. 
Here, as in Hell> Dante is illustrating the general principle 
which he enunciates in the Convhio that the supreme desire of 
everything is to return to its source. That this desire may 
express itself as incest desire is apparent from the fact that in 
incest desire the child seeks to return to its source in the 
mother. 

The retrogressive ascent of Purgatory to the original sin- 
lessness of man is symbolized, as I have said, by Dante's 
rctrc^ression from human form to the form of sperma, as 
which he is passed through the fire and up the stairway. His 
form as sperma is indicated, as I have already shown in my 
treatment of Statius (pp. 195-200), by his being, during the 
passage through the fire, between his poetical father Virgil 
and his poetical mother Statius, the proper position of 
SPERMA at the moment of conception. The fire and the stair- 
way, as commonly both in dreams and conscious symbolism, 
is coitus symbolism. Coitus and the act of birth are ambiva- 
lent in rebirth symbolism, since both coitus and birth are a 
passage through the vulva. 

Dante, then, is not reborn in I*urgatory. He is merely 
prepared for rebirth by being reduced to the primitive con- 
dition in which he is capable of rebirth, and then passed into 
the womb of the mother, the Terrestrial Paradise, by whom 
his rebirth is accomplished. Thus the Terrestrial Paradise, 
as the mother in whom Dante enters by a sexual act in order 
to be conceived anew, corresponds to the southern interior 
of the earth, in which Dante is reconceived after having been 
reduced to the original form of sperma in Hell. The Ter- 
restrial Paradise as a mother symbol is the counterpart of 
Purgatory; Purgatory and the Terrestrial Paradise tt^ether 
are the two mothers, or the dual mother, analogous to the 
dual mother of the earth as symbolized by the northern 
interior of the earth, or Hell, and the southern interior of the 
earth. 

That the Terrestrial Paradise is indeed a mother symbol is 
self-evident from its being the Garden of Eden. The mother is 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



254 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

preeminently the garden, and has been universally so sym< 
bolized. The mother symbolism of the Terrestrial Paradise is 
developed, as I shall show in the next chapter, in the episode 
of Dante's sleep with Beatrice. In this sleep is signified the 
union of Dante and Beatrice, whereby he enters her womb as 
he has entered the womb of the Terrestrial Paradise; and it is 
in the womb of Beatrice that he is carried to Paradise. 



PARADISE 

TTie mother symbolism of Hell and Purgatory is repeated 
in the structure of Dante's Paradise. The symbolism of 
Heaven, or the sky, as mother is much more ancient, however, 
than Dante. The sky is a womb-like enclosure of all the life 
beneath it, and this similitude is expressed in the symbolism 
of all peoples in all ages; it is apparent in certain variations 
of the sun myth, where the sky is the mother of the sun. 

It must not be forgotten, moreover, that the primitive 
conceptions of the earth and the sky as mother were rational- 
ized into a philosophic form in which the universe, or 
macrocosm, is considered as exactly analogous in structure 
to the human body, the microcosm, or tittle universe. 
According to Baldwin's Dictionary of Philosophy and 
Psychology, to which the reader should refer, " the idea of 
such an analogy is present in the Aristotelian philosophy, 
and was developed by the Stoics in connection with their 
doctrine of pneuma, the divine reason, which is also the warm 
vital breath that animates and purposively pervades the 
universe." 

The analogy between the universe and the mind of man 
underlies all forms of idealism. But preceding this ideahstic 
conception of the macrocosm and the microcosm, and con- 
tinued in connection with it, there was worked out in the 
greatest detail the analogy between the structure of the 
universe and the structure of the human body. This physical 
correspondence underlies the structure of the universe in the 
Diaina Commedia; it is expressed by Dante in the phrase. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 255 

questa i rorma 
Che I'universo a Dio fa simigliante; 

— Par. i. IQ4-105: 
and in his reference to Paradise as the deijorme regno. Par. 
ii. 20. 

The universe is made in the image of God, exactly as man 
is made in the image of God, as expressed in Genesis i. 27: 
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God 
created he him; male and female created he them." Now if 
the universe is made in the image of God, and man is in the 
image of God, it follows that tne universe and man, being 
both in the image of God, must resemble each other. In other 
words, the universe must be the image of man. 

Moreover, if the universe is the image of God as the 
Christian Trinity, it must have a male aspect, as correspond- 
ing to God the Father, and in its male aspect it must have 
an aspect corresponding not only to God as father but also 
to God as Son. And it must also have a/emaie aspect cor- 
responding to God as Holy Ghost, or divine mother. That 
there is a female aspect of the God described in Genesis is 
implied in the sentence from Genesis where it is said that 
God, creating man in his own image, created man male and 
Jemaie. 

The foregoing observations have the strictest pertinence to 
the structure of Dante's universe, which has a male, or 
penetrating and conceptual, form corresponding to the father 
and the son of the divine Trinity; and a female form corres- 
ponding to the mother or Holy Ghost, of the divine Trinity. 
The unity of the Divine Trinity, thus expressed as a family, 
is expressed by their union in the moment in which the 
divine son is conceived; it is at this moment, as a biolc^cal 
fact, that father, mother, and son are tc^ether and therefore 
one. 

Rational as the idea thus appears to be, from the point of 
view of ancient and medieval philosophy, that the universe 
has a female form as well as a male form, it should not be 
surprising that Dante expresses this female form in the 
structure of his Paradise, just as he expresses it in the struc- 



)doyGoO(^lc 



256 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

ture of Hell and Purgatory, and that he expresses the male 
form in the symbolism of his journey as sperma through the 
female form of Paradise. 

Let us now examine the correspondences between the 
structure of Paradise and the structure of the female body, 
correspondences which in turn reveal the parallel between the 
structure of Paradise and the structure of Hell and of 
Purgatory. The parallel is clear, but in order to recognize 
the parallel tt is necessary to recognize the method by which 
the symbolism in Paradiso is expressed. Beyond the division 
of Paradise into ten r^ons, it has no specific topography, 
and therefore the organi del mondo, to use a suggestive phrase 
of Dante's, are not materially localized in Paradiso, as they 
are in Inferno and in Purgatorio. The various regions of 
Paradise are differentiated by the different kinds of thought 
expressed in them; it is from the symbolism of ideas rather 
than from topographical symbolism that the meaning of 
Paradise is to be inferred. The following parallel columns will 
show the extent to which the structure of Paradise resembles 
the structure of the female body and the structure of Hell 
and Purgatory. 



Lo gran mar deW essere. Par. 
i. 113- 



Foglie of the alloro, the foliage of 
the laurel on the mountain, 
Par. i. 15, 26. 

PamaiOi Par. i. 16. 



Foee-, Par. i. 44, reinforced by the 
allusion to the passage to Col- 
chos, Par. i\. 16, these allusions 
referring to Dante's entrance 
into the sphere of the moon. 



Amniotic fluid. Cf. lago 
del cor. Inf. i. 20, and 
mar s) crudele, Purg. 

Pubic hair. Cf. seloa 
oscura, In/, i. 2, and the 
giunchi, Purg. i. 102. 

Mons Veneris, Cf. il di- 
lettoso monte. Inf. i. 77, 
and the piii lieve salita, 
Purg. i. 108. 

Vulva. Cf. gate of HeU, 
Inf. iii, and the narrow 
cal/a, Purg. iv. 22. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



Rivo, Par. i. 137, t<^ether with 
acque. Par. in. 11, acqua. Par. 
iii. 123, and sanlo rio. Par. iv. 
115. 



Passage from the sphere of the 
moon to the sphere of Mer- 
cury, Par. V. 



The peschiera, Par. v. 



Passage from the sphere of Mer- 
cury to the sphere of Venus, 
Par. viii. 



Entrance into the sphere of 
Venus. The conical shadow of 
the earth which extends 
through the first three 
heavens, coming to an apex at 
the sphere of Venus, redupli- 
cates ifi its form the hollow 
cone of Hell and the solid 
cone of the mountain of Pulsa- 
tory. Thus the shadow of the 
earth represents the ot^ans al- 
ready named; the circle of the 



\L 257 

Bodily streams, seminal, 
lacteal, urinary and 
fecal. Cf. Acheron, Inf. 
iii. 78, and Lethe and 
Eunoe, Purg. xxviii. 
130-131, and elsewhere. 

Entrance of vagina. Cf. 
the passage from the 
gate of Hell to the 
no^ile caslello. Inf. m, 
iv; and the ascent from 
the narrow opening to 
the Valley of the 
Princes, Purg. vii. 

Clitoris. Cf. nobile casteU 
lo. Inf. iv; and the 
Valley of the Princes, 
the grembo, Purg. vii. 

Vagina. Cf. descent from 
the nobile castello to the 
gate of the city of Dis, 
Inf. v-vii; and the as- 
cent from the Valley of 
the Princes to the gate 
of Purgatory proper, 
PuTg, vii-ix. 

Cervix, Cf. gate to the 
city of Dis (Hell 
proper). Inf. viii; and 
gate to Purgatory 
proper, Purg. ix. 76. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



2s8 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

cone in the sphere of the moon 
represents the vulva; the 
shadow from the sphere of the 
moon to the sphere of Venus, 
the vagina; and the apex of the 
cone, the cervix. 
The third, fourth, fifth, sixth, Uterus. Cf. city of Dis, 
seventh, eighth and ninth Inf, ix-xxxiv; and Pui^- 
circles. The uterine character atory proper, Pur^. x- 
of the heavens b.eyond the xxvii. 
shadow of the earth is sug- 
gested by the allusion. Par. ix, 
82, to la maggior valle in che 
Facqua si spanda. For the de- 
velopment of the symbolism of 
ia maggior oalie, see pp. 267-73. 

The passage of Dante through the heavens thus symbolized 
as the female body is expressed in terms of sexual union and 
birth. The expression of this union and birth, or rebirth, is 
throughout Paradiso principally in terms of the phallic 
symbolism of the sun and of light, the penetrating power of 
the sun. Elspecially clear is this symbolism in the follow- 
ing lines, describing the actual entrance into the sphere of 
the moon, Par. ii. 34-36: 

Per entro s^ I'etema margarita 
Ne recepette, com'acqua recepe 
Raggio di luce, permanendo unlta. 

The entrance of light into a transparent body is one of the 
common symbols of the sexual union whereby the Virgin 
Mary conceived her divine child. The light enters the object 
without rupturing its surface; the unruptured surface 
through which the light enters corresponds, in medieval 
symbolism, to the unruptured hymen of the Virgin, whereby 
she received the divine child into her womb without losing 
the sign of her virginity. The light is phalHc, and the object 
through which it passes is the female.* The entrance of the 

•See Hirn, The Sotted Shrine. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 259 

light into " the eternal pearl," as described in the terzina just 
quoted, recalls the acrostic readings on the opening lines of 
Par, i. which are: vela pene, on a passage treating of the 
"light" of God, and IN UNA perla (see pp. 29-30). That the 
light which enters the pearl in the present passage has the 
phallic symbolism which I surest is proved by the acrostic 
on the three lines of the terzina: 

34 PE 

35 NE 

36 raggio di luce 

Read: pene: raggio di luce 

The phallic symbolism of light in the Divtrta Commedia, 
and especially in Paradiso, is so important that Dante has 
not limited himself to the forgoing acrostic to indicate his 
meaning. There are, indeed, several acrostics showing the 
same reference to the ray of light as phalHc. 

Following are the last four lines oi Par. v: 

Per pld letizia si mi si nascose 136 

Dentro al suo raggio la fi^ura santa, 
E cosl cbiusa chiusa mi rispose 

Nel modo che il seguente canto canta. 139 

Consider the following marginal letters of these four lines: 

136 PE 

137 D 

138 E 

139 NE 

Read: pene ed 

Ed is Dante's signature and it is also a copulative con- 
junction. Note the word raggio in line 137. 

For further cryptographic evidence of the symbolism of 
light, sec pp. 106-10, 290. 

The light symbolism of the Divina Commedia is further 
developed in such a way that the act of seeing is phallic just 
as the ray of light is phallic. Sight is supposed to penetrate 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



26o THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

a transparent object as light penetrates it; and Dante as one 
who sees God is the same as Dante who unites himself with 
God in a union symbolized as sexual. The symbolism of 
Medusa in Inf. ix now becomes clear. As I suggested in 
speaking of her appearance at the gate of the city of Dis, 
Medusa is a symbol of the mother identified with the mother 
symbol of Hell itself. The danger for Dante of seeing her is 
that the act of sight, as penetrating an object, is the symbol 
of sexual union. 

The sex symbolism of Dante's pr<^e$s through the female 
form of Paradise is further developed in the/ocf, Tar. i. 44, 
which is mentioned in connection with Dante's entrance into 
Heaven and which I regard as a veiled allusion to the vulva. 
The/o« is the spot through which the sun rises at the vernal 
equinox, the season assigned to the Creation and the An- 
nunciation. Dante is thus to be considered as symbolized by 
the sun at the moment when it passes through the /off as 
vulva in its union with the divine mother, the sky, and in its 
rebirth. 

The phallic character of the sun is further expressed in the 
description of the sparks which it emits. Par. \. 60: 

Qual ferro che bogiiente esce del foco. 

There is further phallic symbolism in the likening of Dante's 
ascent to Heaven to the flight of an arrow, Par. i. 119, Par. 
V. 91, The arrow, like the arrow in the myth of Cupid, is 
phallic. 

The sex symbolism of the peschiera in the sphere of the 
moon appears from the common phallic symbolism of the 
fish, which was, on account of its phallic symbolism, also 
accepted in medieval symbolism as the symbol of Christ 
himself in his regenerating power. 

The identification of Christ with the fish was expressed in 
early Christian symbolism by considering the five letters of 
the Greek word for fish, 'IX6T2, as the initials of five words 
giving the name and title of Christ (see pp. 6, 95, 399). 

The peschiera, as a female symbol, is the place where the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



fish swims. Dante has emphasized by an acrostic the passage 
in which the peschiera is described, Par. v. 97-111: 

£ se la Stella si cambifi t rise, 97 

Qual mi fee' io, the pur di mia natura 

Trasmutabile son per tutte guisel 
Come in peschiera, en' i tranquilla e pura, 100 

Traggonsi i pesci a cih che vien di luori 

Per modo che Io stimin lor pastura; 
Si vid' io ben piil di mille splendori 103 

Trarsi ver noi, ed in ciascun s' udia: 

'Ecco chi cresceril li nostri amorl.' 
E si come ciascuno a noi venia, 106 

Vedeasi 1' ombra piena di letizia 

Nel fulgor chiaro che da lei uscia. 
Pensa, lettor, se quel che qui s' inizia 109 

Non procedesse, come tu avresti 

Di pid sapere angosciosa carizia; 

The initials of the first lines of these five terzine are: 



103 s 

106 E 
109 P 

Read: pesce 

The passage on which this acrostic appears contains, lines 
98-99, the remarkable words, already referred to: 
pur di mia natura 
Trasmutabile son per tutte guise. 

The lines immediately following this acrostic are: 
£ per te vederai, come da questi 
M era in disio d' udir lor condizioni, 
Si come agli occhi mi fur manifesti. 

Consider the following marginal letters of these lines: 

113 E P 

113 MERA 

114 S 

Read: peremas 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



262 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

This is a double acrostic, as appears by considering the 
following marginal letters on the same lines: 



113 ME 

114 s 

Read: seme 

The uterus of the anthropomorphic Paradise of Dante is, 
as I have suggested, to be found in the third, fourth, fifth, 
sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth circles of Paradise — the 
entire region between the first two circles of Paradise, through 
which the shadow of the earth extends, and the spaceless 
Empyrean. This region corresponds to the City 01 Dis in 
Inferno and Purgatory proper in Purgatorio. The determining 
sex symboHsm of this region is to be found in the ninth canto 
oi Paradiso, where Dante enters the sphere of Venus, just as 
the determining sex symbolism of the City of Dis as uterus is 
to be found in the ninth canto oi Inferno, and as the deter- 
mining sex symbolism of Purgatory proper is to be found in 
the ninth canto of Purgatorio. Paralleling the Venus of the 
uterine region of Paradise is the Proserpine, mother goddess 
of the underworld, in the uterine region of Hell. The number 
nine of these cantos is in itself signiBcant. Nine is the number 
associated with the mother, on account of the nine months of 
gestation. 

The ninth canto oi Paradiso should be reread with especial 
attention to its curious insistence on illicit love in relation to 
the history of the church. Notice the allusion to the harlot 
Rahab, Par. ix. 116, who in medieval symbolism is considered 
as the type of the church and so of the divine mother. Notice 
also that the canto ends on the word adulterio, which recalls 
the superho slrupo. Inf. vii, 12. 

In connection with this adulterio notice the acrostic that 
appears on the last seven lines of the canto, P<?r. ix. 136-I42: 

A questo intende il papa e i cardinali: 136 

Non vanno i lor pensieri a Nazzarette, 
Li dove Gabriello aperse I' ali. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 263 

Ma Vaticano e 1' altre parti elette 139 

Di Roma, che son state cimiterio 

Alia milizia che Pietro seguette, 
Tosto libere Een dell' adulterio.' 142 

Consider on the last line of the canto and the first lines of 
the two preceding terzine the following maiginal letters: 

136 A 
139 MA 

143 TO 



Now consider on all the lines of the same passage the 
following marginal letters: 



136 


A QUE 


137 


KOK 


138 


LA D 


139 


MA 


140 


DI 


141 


AL 


143 


TOSTO LI BE 



Read: sono qui l'amato di bella. dante 

Notice also the allusion to Feltro^ Par. ix. 52, which we 
have already seen to be so important for the symbolism of the 
adulterous mother. But the most remarkable confirmation 
of the uterine symbolism of the sphere of Venus appears. 
Par. ix. 82, in the description by Folco of the Mediter- 
ranean as 

La maggior valle in che I'acqua si spanda. 

For the elucidation of the symbolism impHed by this line I 
must refer the reader to pp. 267-73, as it must be developed 
in connection with the mother symbolism of the earth. 

From the uterus of the revolving spheres of Paradise 
Dante passes to the motionless Empyrean, from space to the 
spaceless, from the material Paradise to the immaterial, 
where all existence is luce inteliettual piena d'amore. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



26+ THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

The passage from the ninth heaven into the Empyrean 
is analogous to the passage, in Inferno, from the northern 
interior of the earth, or Hell, into the southern interior, via 
the FENE of Lucifer. The passage from the material to the 
immaterial heaven is likewise analogous to the passage, in 
Purgatorio, from Purgatory to the Terrestrial Paradise. 

And analogously the Empyrean is the symbol of the 
mother, as the southern interior of the earth and the Ter- 
restrial Paradise are symbols of the mother. And just as the 
mother symbolism of the southern interior of the earth 
reduplicates the mother symbolism of Hell, and as the mother 
symbolism of the Terrestrial Paradise reduplicates the 
mother symbolism of Purgatory, so the mother symbolism of 
the Empyrean reduplicates the mother symbolism of the nine 
material heavens. Thus the Empyrean together with the 
material heavens of the nine spheres represents the divine 
mother in her dual aspect. 

The principal symbolic features of the Empyrean are the 
river or light and the circle of the mystic rose. The river of 
light in the Empyrean corresponds to the ruscelletto io the 
southern interior of the earth, and to the mystic rivers, 
Eunoe and Lethe, in the Terrestrial Paradise. The mother 
symbolism of the river of light appears from the fact that it 
suggests to Dante, Par. xxx. 82-87, * reference to the 
mother's milk: 

Non i fantln che si subito rua 82 

Col volto verso il latte, se si svegli 

Moko tardato dall' usanza sua. 
Come fee' io, per far migliori spegli 85 

Ancor degli occhi, chinandomi all' onda 

Che si deriva perchi vi s' immegli. 

The circle of the mystic rose in the Empyrean corresponds 
to the pertugio londo in the southern interior of the earth. 
The female symbolism of the rose is obvious, since the rose 
has been universally used as the symbol of the vulva. Dante 
intensifies this symbolism by his reference^ Par, xxxit. 18, 
to le chiome delfior, a su^estion of hair in connection with 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 26s 

the rose that is to be understood only by recognizing the 
female symbolism of the rose. The female symbolism of the 
rose is further indicated. Par. xxxii. 125-126, by the 
reference to ie chiaoe . . . di questo fior; the key, as we 
have already seen, is a common phallic symbol. Another 
indication of the female symbolism of the rose is the 
reference, "Par. xxx. 124, to the gialh della rosa sempitema; 
the yellow in the center of the rose is the yellow of the 
fecundating pollen. Still another indication of the female 
symbolism of the rose is the reference. Par. xxx. 105, to its 
circle as td sol troppo lorga cintura. In view of the phallic 
symbolism of the sun, the symbolism of the cintura of the sun 
is obvious. In the rose sits Mary, the mother of God, a 
presence which quite definitely establishes the symbolism 
of the rose as maternal. 

The consummation of the Divina Commedia, the consum- 
mation of Dante's vision, is the act of sight by which Dante 
penetrates the mystic rose, sees God, and sees himself in God. 
It is in this act of sight that Dante is symbolized as return- 
ing to his divine source, the deity from whom his being was 
derived. And in this return to God, conceived as a divine 
motherhood, Dante accomplishes what he calls, in the 
Conoivio, il sommo desiderio di ciascuna cosa, e prima dalla 
Natura dato, which is lo ritomare al sua princtpio. 

That the act of sight by which Dante penetrates the female 
symbol of the rose is phallic is evident from what has already 
been said of the light symbolism of the Divina Commedia. 
The principio to which Dante thus returns by a symbolized 
act of sexual union is the divine source of life, the womb of 
the divine mother. Union with God is thus a return to the 
womb. The idea of the existence in the womb is definitely 
expressed by Dante, Par. xxxii. 68-69, '" his reference to 

quei gemetti, 
Che nella madre ebber I'ira commota. 

It is also expressed in the opening lines of the supreme prayer 
to the Virgin Mary, Par. xxxiii. 7: 

Nel ventre tuo si raccese Tamore. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



266 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

The incestuous character of the act here described is apparent 
in the address to her. Par. xxxiii. i, as 

Vergine Madre, figlia del tuo Figlio. 

The implications of this phrase are clear. The Virgin Mary- 
is the daughter of God; through God her father she con- 
ceived and bore her divine son; and through her son she 
conceived and bore her son a second time. For the crypto- 
graphic device in this passage see pp. 347-8. 

In Paradise, according to the medieval mystics and also 
according to the Divina Commedia, it is always noon. Noon 
is the hour symbolizing the sun in the sexual act, and the 
hour of noon as eternal in Paradise thus indicates that the 
divine father and the divine n\other are eternally united in 
the act of eternally begetting the divine son. The idea that 
Christ is eternally begotten in Paradise is explicit in Gnostic 
doctrine. The union of the three, and consequently the unity 
of the Trinity, is thus expressed in terms of the one biolc^cal 
situation where the three members of the family group are 
physically united. 

The sexual character of the act of sight by which Dante 
penetrates the mystic rose is further expressed by Dante in 
the closing lines of the poem, describing the consummation of 
his mystic vision : 

Tale era io a quella vista nuova: 136 

Veder voleva, come si convenne 
L' imago al cerchio, e come vi s* indova; 

Ma non eran da ci6 le proprie penne, 139 

Se non che la mia mente fu percossa 
Da un fulgore, in che sua voglia venne. 

All' alta fantasia qui manc6 possa; 142 

Ma gil volgeva il mio disiro e il velU, 
Si come rota ch' egualmente h mossa, 

L' amor che move il sole e I'altre stelle. 145 

Considering the phallic symbolism of the penetrating 
power of sight, which is consistently developed throughout 
the Divina Commedia, I surmise that there is a play on penne, 
line 139, for pene. The whole description of the consum- 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 267 

mation of Dante's desire in this passage, with the/ulgorCj 
in che sua voglia venne, together with the lack of power and 
the contentment which follow the Julgore, is obviously 
expressed in the metaphor of orgasm. Let me refer here, as 
confirming this interpretation, to the acrostic, shown earlier, 
pp. 30-1, on the marginal letters of lines 136, 139, 142, and 
I45: l'amata, inside which appears the acrostic: salma. 
The corpse in the grave is constantly symbolized in myth 
as phallus. 

EARTH 

I have already referred, in discussing the symbolism of the 
sphere of Venus, to Dante's description of the Mediterranean 
in Par. ix. This description of the Mediteranean, which has 
never been satisfactorily explained, can be understood only 
in terms of the mother symbolism of the earth. Let us briefly 
examine how this symbolism is expressed by Dante. Accord- 
ing to Dante's description the Mediterranean extends about 
90 degrees of the earth's circumference, and 90 degrees, of 
course, is much more than the actual extent of the Medi- 
terranean. Norton's note on this passage reads as follows: 
" In the rude system of geography current in Dante's day the 
Mediterranean was held to extend from west to east,' counter to 
the sun,' from the pillars of Hercules to Jerusalem, over ninety 
degrees of longitude. Hence its western end, which formed 
the horizon at sunrise, would be under the zenith at noon." 

Such a reference to " the rude system of gec^raphy current 
in Dante's day," is characteristic of the general misunder- 
standing of Dante's symbolism, and, indeed, of the mystical 
symbolism of the Middle Ages. Dante can hardly be supposed 
to have been ignorant of the fact that Jerusalem is not on the 
shore of the Mediterranean or that the Mediterranean 
extends much less than 90 degrees. To understand "the rude 
system of geography," therefore, it is necessary to rec<^nize 
that it is based quite consciously by Dante, Jiot on geo- 
graphical observations, but on a philosophic symbolism in 
which the earth is conceived as anthropomorphic. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



268 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

In order to show how Dante expresses his conception of 
the earth as a mother image in what he says of the geography 
of the earth, let us consider briefly the surface of the earth as 
he describes it. One of his most curious ideas is expressed in 
Conoivio iii, where he imagines that a city called Maria is 
situated at the North Pole, and that a city called Lucia is 
situated at the South Pole. The two cities are called, it will 
be observed, by names which are definitely associated in the 
works of Dante with his mother symbolism; and the sun, 
padre tTogni mortal vita, is described as alternately approach- 
ing and withdrawing from these cities in its annual alter- 
nations between summer and winter. It is impossible within 
the present limits to elucidate in detail the symbolism of the 
polar cities; it will suffice for our present purposes, however, 
to suggest that these two cities, in their alternating relations 
with the sun, symbolize the two aspects of the mother in the 
earth as a mother image. Thus the surface of the earth, as a 
mother image, in its relation to the sun, as a father image, or 
as an image of the incestuous son who dies in the autumn 
and is reborn in the spring, is represented as being a dual 
mother, or two mothers, exactly as we have seen that the 
interior of the earth, in relation to Dante's journey through 
its two divisions, Hell and the southern interior, is repre- 
sented in Inferno. 

Dante's symbolism of the surface of the earth as a dual 
mother is further expressed in his idea that the surface of the 
earth is equally divided between dry land and water. The dry 
land, according to this conception, is confined exclusively to 
the northern hemisphere; and the southern hemisphere is 
composed, with the single exception of the island of Purga- 
tory, wholly of water. The dry land, as the source of 
v^etation, and the sea, in its tidal swelling as in pregnancy 
and in its analt^y to the amniotic waters of birth, are both 
mother images. The reason that these two mother images are 
conceived as being so distinctly separated into the northern 
and the southern hemispheres is that they may thus be 
brought into the proper relation with the annual birth and 
death of the sun, as expressed in the alternating seasons. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 269 

The sun is the symbol o( man; it dies in the autumn and re- 
mains in death throughout the winter; it is reborn in the 
spring and remains in life throughout the summer. In the 
autumn and in the winter, which correspond to the death of 
the annual sun, the sun is conceived as in the womb of the 
mother image of the waters of the southern hemisphere. In 
the spring and in the summer, which correspond to the 
rebirth and new life of the annual sun, the sun is conceived as 
in the womb of the mother image of the dry land of the 
northern hemisphere. The eternal life of the sun, as the in- 
cestuous son who accomplishes his own rebirth, is thus 
conceived as an eternal cycle of existences which alternate 
between the wombs of the two mother images, land and 
water. As these two mother images, land and water, both 
belong to the earth as a single mother image, they correspond 
to the dual function of the mother in first receiving the child 
into her womb, as in sexual union, and in then expelling the 
child from her womb, as in birth. The two mothers repre- 
sent the two functions of motherhood. 

I have thus explained several curious details of Dante's 
geography as belonging to the mother symbolism of the earth 
in connection with the annual death and rebirth of the sun. 
But it is not only in its annual course that the sun is sym- 
bolized as dying and as being reborn; the same death and 
rebirth symbolism appears, both in the Divtna Commedia 
and universally in myth, in connection with the diurnal 
course of the sun. Just as the sun is supposed to die in the 
autumn and to remain in death throughout the winter, so it 
is supposed to die in the evening and to remain in death 
throughout the night. And just as it is supposed to be reborn 
in the spring and to remain in life throughout the summer, so 
it is supposed to be reborn in the morning and to remain in 
life throughout the day. Dante's own use of the diurnal 
course of the sun for his rebirth symbolism will explain, as I 
will now briefly show, some of the remaining curiosities of 
his geography. 

In Dante's conception of the earth, Jerusalem, the highest 
point of the northern hemisphere of land, is situated at its 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



270 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

exact centre; and ninety d^ees west of Jerusalem are the 
Pillars of Hercules, the modern Gibraltar. Throughout the 
ninety degrees between Jerusalem and the Pillars of Hercules 
extends the Mediterranean. At exactly the antipodes of 
Jerusalem, and therefore a hundred and eighty d^frees from 
Jerusalem, is the Mountain of Purgatory. Jerusalem and 
Purgatory have thus a common horizon, which passes, at a 
distance of ninety d^rees from each, through the Pillars of 
Hercules. 

It thus appears that Jerusalem and the Mountain of 
Purgatory are like the polar cities, Maria and Lucia, in two 
important particulars: they are antipodal to each other and 
they have, in consequence, a common horizon which divides 
the earth into two equal parts. They are further like the 
polar cities Maria and Lucia in being both mother images: 
Jerusalem is supremely the mother city of the Old Testament, 
and it has, indeed, the same symbolism in relation to the life 
of Christ; and Purgatory is essentially the mother image of 
spiritual rebirth. Jerusalem and Purgatory must be con- 
sidered, accordingly, by virtue of their inherent mother 
symbolism, as dividing at their common horizon the whole 
earth into two equal parts which represent, respectively, the 
two aspects of the mother in the earth considered as a single 
mother image. 

Now in noting the parallelism between Maria and Lucia 
on the one hand and Jerusalem and Purgatory on the other, 
it must not be overlooked that the parallelism is not com- 
plete. Maria and Lucia are north and south of each other, 
whereas Jerusalem and Purgatory are east and west. 

It follows, therefore, that the sun, in alternating between 
Maria and Lucia, travels north and south, as in its annual 
course, whereas in alternating between Jerusalem and 
Purgatory it travels west and east, as in its diurnal course. 
Jerusalem and Purgatory must accordingly be considered as 
mother images in relation to the diurnal course of the sun, 
just as we have seen that Maria and Lucia must be considered 
as mother images in relation to the annual course of the sun. 

In the light of this mother symbolism of Jerusalem and 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 371 

Purgatory, and of the hemispheres of which they are respec- 
tively the centres, in relation to the diurnal course of the sun, 
Dante's geographical allusions to the Mediterranean and to 
Jerusalem become comprehensible; he is suggesting, in 
relation to the diurnal course of the sun, that the surface of 
the earth has a structure Hke the structure of the female body, 
just as he shows the same structure in the topography of 
Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise. Jerusalem, as the centre of 
the mother symbol of the dry land, represents, like the gate 
of Hell, the vulva. The Mediterranean, as la magghr aaUe of 
the dry land, represents, like the northern interior of the 
earth, or Hell, the womb of the hemisphere of dry land. The 
Pillars of Hercules, as being the exit from the maggior valle 
to the waters of the Purgatorial hemisphere, represent, like 
the narrow passage between Hell and the southern interior 
of the earth in Inferno, the passage from the womb of the 
hemisphere of dry land to the womb of the hemisphere of 
water. 

Through the organs, thus symbolized, of the surface of the 
earth, the sun, in its diurnal course, passes westward from 
Jerusalem. The sex symbolism which I have here suggested 
for Jerusalem in connection with the diurnal course of the 
sun is emphasised by the fact that the sun is alluded to par- 
ticularly as at noon above Jerusalem. The reference may be 
found not only in Par. ix. 86, but also in the allusion, Par. 
xxiii. 11-12, to the zenith above Jerusalem as 

la plaga 
Sotto la quale il sol mostra men fretta. 

To understand the allusion to the sun as at noon above 
Jerusalem and as tarrying in that position longest, it must be 
remembered that in the mystical symbolism of the Middle 
Ages the moment of noon, when the sun is directly above the 
earth, symbolizes sexual union. It is on account of this 
symbolism, indeed, that it is eternal noon in Paradise, where 
the blessed condition of union with God is symbolized in 
terms of the sexual life. In view of the symbolism of noon as 
sexual union, noon above Jerusalem suggests Jerusalem as 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



272 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

the symbol of the organ with which the union of the phallic 
sun would naturally be made. 

Immediately after entering the mother earth at her 
symbolical centre, Jerusalem, the phallic sun, as the in- 
cestuous son who is to accomplish his own rebirth, passes 
westward into the maggior oalU, which, as has been noted 
already, has an extent of ninety degrees. By disregardii^ the 
zero of this number, there appears, as confirming the uterine 
symbolism of the maggior valUy the number nine. But the 
ninety d^ees are further required by the symbolism as 
indicating the horizon, or boundary, between the hemisphere 
of Jerusalem, as a mother image, and its antipodal hemi- 
sphere. From the maggior valle the sun passes westward, 
through the Hilars of Hercules, into the sea of the hemisphere 
of water; it is thus symbolized as expelled from the one 
womb and received into the other, exactly like Dante in his 
passage from Hell to the southern interior of the earth. 
From the Pillars of Hercules the sun passes westward to 
Purgatory, and thence again to the hemisphere of land and 
to Jerusalem, in an endless series of rebirths. 

In connection with the mother symbolism of the surface 
of the earth as it is thus developed by Dante, the reason that 
Jerusalem is chosen as the city situated at exactly the center 
of the hemisphere of dry land and immediately under the 
zenith is to associate Christ, since he lived and died in 
Jerusalem, with the sun as his supreme symbol. This asso- 
ciation, however, is much older than Dante. It shows, indeed, 
in the Biblical accounts of the crucifixion as occurring at 
noon and of his death on the cross as occurring at sunset. 
The symbolism of crucifixion is the same as the symbolism of 
the sun at noon; it signifies the union of the divine son with 
the divine mother, through whom he is to accomplish his 
rebirth. His rebirth is identical with his death. This symbol- 
ism was widely recc^nized in medieval mysticism, and is 
clearly expressed by Dante himself. In referring to the cruci- 
fixion in Par. xi. 32-33, Dante refers at the same time to 
La sposa dl colui, ch'ad alte grida 
Dispos6 lei col sangue benedetto. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 273 

These lines imply that the crucifixion symbolizes sexual 
union as of brid^room and bride. The bride is the divine 
mother with whom the divine son unites in his death on the 
cross, a death which symbolizes the incestuous act which is 
to result in his rebirth. 

The death of Christ at sunset indicates that the parallel 
between Christ and the sun is to be carried out in detail; 
Christ's death, like the setting of the sun, is the passage into 
the womb of the grave, or of the divine mother, after the act 
of union with her. Thus the death of Christ, as synchronous 
with the dying day, is expressed in terms of the sun's diurnal 
course, just as his rebirth at Easter, in the birthtime of the 
year, is expressed in terms of the sun's annual course. The 
synchronization with the course of the sun which thus 
appears in the life of Christ appears likewise in the Divina 
Commedia, as I have already suggested i" Chapter II, in the 
events of Dante's dream journey. He descends into Hell in 
the evening, he rises to his new life in Purgatory on Easter 
morning, and he is in Paradise at noon. 

Another significant instance of Dante's use of the earth 
as a mother image appears in his account, InJ. xxxiv. 121- 
126, of the manner in which Hell was created. According 
to this account, Lucifer, when he was cast out of Heaven, 
fell to earth on the southern hemisphere, which was originally 
covered with land. The earth opened out into the abyss of 
Hell to receive him; and the land of the southern hemisphere, 
in fear of him, withdrew and left the southern hemisphere, 
where he had entered the earth, covered with water. This 
account of the fall of Lucifer and the creation of Hell is 
obviously a symbolic representation of the incestuous act 
for which he was cast out of Heaven. He was cast forth as 
SPERMA is cast forth; and the surface of the earth, as the 
frightened mother, retreated from him, and yet opened up, 
as in the sexual act, to receive him, and then, as with the 
amniotic waters of pregnancy, covered the region where he 
had entered with the sea. Thus the punishment of Lucifer 
is a reperition of the sin for which he is punished; he is held 
in the womb which, as the incestuous son, he has violated. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



274 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

In connection with the mother symbolism of the earth I 
wish to refer briefly to a confirmatory detail in the opening 
lines oi InfemOy where Dante says: 

Nel mezzo del caminin di nostra vita 

Mi ntrovat per una selva oscura. 

According to Scartazzini, the words Mi ritrovai mean : mt 
accorsi d'essere; and they are almost invariably translated: 
"I found myself." It thus appears in Scartazzini's comment 
and in the various translations that the reiterative sense which 
actually appears in the form of the verb ritrovai is not to be 
considered as intended by Dante. There can be no doubt, 
however, that in their quite literal sense the words Mi 
r/froufli mean : " I found myself again;" and it is in this literal 
sense that I believe the words must be understood. 

Now as soon as the words Mi ritrovai are understood to 
mean, as they are written: "I found myself again," the 
second line of Inferno assumes an extraordinary significance. 
For in thus saying: "I found myself again in a dark wood," 
Dante implies that he has been in the dark wood before. 

The implications of the reiterative sense of the words: 
Mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, 
appear at once in considering the Divina Commedia either as 
the dream which it purports to be or as a conscious all^ory. 
In dreaming, as Dante here suggests, that he finds himself in 
a wood where he has been before, Dante is reproducing a 
very common dream experience: the phantasy of being twice 
in the same place. This phantasy is so common in dreams that 
Freud has classified the dreams in which it appears as the 
dream of the dSji vu. Now the place which, in all dreams 
of the d^j^ vu, the dreamer thus imagines that he is 
revisiting has been analyzed by Freud to be the body of 
the mother, in whom the dreamer has already been as the 
child in her womb. In the opinion of Freud, accordingly, the 
dream of the dij^ vu is an incest phantasy. In view of the 
reiterative sense of Mi ritrovai it would thus seem that the 
Divina Commedia is a dream of the dejd vu, in which the 
seiva oscura, as dejd vue, must be understood to symbolize the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 275 

mother of the dreamer. This interpretation of the opening 
lines of Inferno is confirmed, not only by what we have 
already discovered of the symbolism of the selva oscura as the 
mother of Dante and of the nati whom he represents, but 
also by the symbolism of the entire poem, in which Dante 
represents himself as returning to the womb of his mother in 
his return to the various mother images of his anthropo- 
morphic universe. 

EXAMPLES OF PEREMAS 

The foregoing survey, necessarily brief, of the sex symbol- 
ism of the Dhina Commedia confirms, I believe, the im- 
portance which I attach to per me si va, the thrice repeated 
phrase in the inscription over the gate of Hell, as an anagram 

for PEREMAS VI, VI E SPERMA and VI ERA SPEM. 

The anagrammatic permutations of the phrase: per me si 
VA, have the most profound implications for the meaning of 
theD/oma Commedia. The phrase itself implies that the gate 
of Hell is the vulva, for this phrase describing the gate of 
Hell says, in one of its permutations, that vi e sperma. 

And in another of its permutations it says that vi era 
SPEM, thus showing sperma and spem as related symbols, 
symbols, as we have seen, of Christ, of Dante, and of 
humanity in general. 

And the permutation: peremas vi, instructs the reader /o 
remove from the poem its hidden meaning. 

] will now show a few examples of peremas as it appears in 
cryptograms in the Divina Commedia. Other examples have 
been shown in earlier chapters. 

The following passage. Inf. xxv. 13-24, consists of four 
terzine: 

Per tutti i cerchi dell' inferno oscurl 13 

Non vidi spirto in Dio tanto superbo, 
Non quel che cadde a Tebe gid da' muri. 
Ei si fuggi, che non parl6 piil verbo: 16 

Ed io vidi un Centauro pien di rabbia 
Venir chiamando: 'Ov'fe, ov' h V acerbo?' 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



276 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Maremtna non cred' io che tante n' abbia, 19 
Quante bisce e^li avea su per la groppa, 
Infin dove commcia nostra labbia. 

Sopra le spalle, dietro dalla coppa, 22 

Con 1' ali aperte gli giacea un draco, 
E quello aRoca qualunque s' intoppa. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
these four terzine: 



Read: peremas 

As in Purg. i. 1-13, the initial letters of the same lines are: 



Read: SPEM 

The following passage, Inf. xx. 97-111, consists of five 
tei^ne: 

Per& t' assenno, che se tu mai odi 97 

Originar la mia terra altrimenti. 

La veriti nulla menzogna Frodi.* 
Ed io: 'Maestro, i tuoi ragionamenti 100 

Mi son si certi, e prendon st mia fede, 

Che gli altri mi sarian carboni spenti. 
Ma dimmi della gente che procede, 103 

Se tu ne vedi alcun degno di nota; 

Chh solo a ci6 la mia mente rifiede.' 
Alloc mi disse: 'Quel che dalla gota 106 

Porge la barba in suUe spalle brune, 

Fu, quando Grecia Fu di maschi vota 
SI che appena rimaser per le cune, 109 

Augure, e diede il punto con Calcanta 

In Aulide a tagliar ta prima fune. 

Consder the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
the terzmc: 



DiBtizedOyGbOt^lc 



THE SEAL 



109 s 
Read: peremas 

Now consider the following marginal letters on the same 
lines: 

97 PER 
100 ED 10 



Read: ed 10 sperma 

There is a hint in line 99: La veritd nulla menzogna /roM, 
"let no falsehood defraud the truth." 

The following passage is In/, xvi. 43-54: 

Ed io, che posto son con loro in croce, 43 

iacopo Rusticucci fui: e certo 
a fiera moglie piil ch' altro mi nuoce.' 

S' io fussi stato dal foco coperto, 46 

Gittato mi sarei tra lor aisotto, 
E credo che il Dottor l' avria sofferto. 

Ma perch' io mi sarei bruciato e cotto, 49 
Vmse paura la mia buona voglia, 
Che di lore abbracciar mi facea ghiotto. 

Poi cominciai: 'Non dispetto, ma doglia $2 
La vostra condizion dentro mi fisse 
Tanto che tardi tutta si dispoglia, 

Consider first the initials of first lines of the four ter^ne: 

43 E 
46 s 
49 M 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



278 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Now consider the following marginal letters on the first 
lines of the first three terzine: 

43 E 
46 s 

49 MA PER 

Read: perehas 

Notice that the passage be^ns with Ed to and that it is 
bounded on the first and last lines by the following mai^nal 
letters: 

43 ED 
54 TAN 
Read: dante 

There may be an additional hint in the words mi Jissi 
tanlOy lines 53-541 as if meaning that Dante fixes his signature 
here. 

The following passage, Inf. xviii. 34-54) consists of seven 
terzine: 

Di <]ua, di Ik, su per lo sasso tetro 34 

Vidi Demon cornuti con gran ferae, 

Che li battean crudelmente di retro. 
Ahi come facean lor levar ie berze 37 

Alle prime percossel gii nessuno 

Le seconde aspettava nk le terze. 
Mentr* io andava, gli occhi mtei in uno 40 

Furo scontrati; ed io s) tosto dissi: 

'Di gik veder costui non son digiuno.' 
Perci6 a tigurarlo i piedi afiissi; 43 

E il doice Duca meco si ristette, 

Ed assent! ch' alquanto indJetro gissi: 
E quel frustato celar si credette 46 

Bassando il viso, ma poco gli valse: 

Ch' io dissi: 'Tu che i' occnio a terra gette, 
Se le fazion che port! non son false, 49 

Venedico se' tu Caccianimico; 

Ma che ti mena a si pungenti Salsef 
Ed egli a me: 'Mai volentier lo dico; 52 

Ma sforaami la tua chiara favella, 

Che mi fa sovvenir del mondo antico. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



Coimder the following marginal letters on the first lines of 
the terzine: 



HENTR 


P 


E 


S 



Read: perehas qui dante 

Notice that the passage begins with the words di qua, and 
that the passage is bounded by the initials of the first and 
the last ter^ne: de, and that the first line of the last ter^na 
begins with ed. 

Those who regard Dante as too serious to descend to verbal 
tricks will note that salse in line 51 has long been recognized 
as a pun on the proper name of the ravine where the bodies 
of criminals were thrown and the word for "pickle." 

The following passage is Par. xxiii. 13-24: 

Si che veggendola io sospesa e vaga, 13 

Fecimi qual J quei, che disiando 

Altro vorria, e sperando s' appaga. 
Ma poco fu tra uno ed altro quando, 16 

Del mio attender, dico, e del vedere 

Lo del venir pi{l e piil rischiarando: 
£ Beatrice disse: 'Ecco le schiere 19 

Del trionfo di Cristo, e tutto il frutto 

Ricolto del girar di queste spere.' 
Pareami cHe il suo viso ardesse tutto, 22 

E gli occhi avea di letizia s\ pieni, 

Che passac mi convien senza costrutto. 

Con^der first the initials of the first lines of the ter^e: 



Read: spem 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



aSo THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Now consider the following marginal letters on these four 
lines: 



33 PARE 

Read: peremas 

Nodce that if e, the fourth letter of line 22, is omitted the 
marginal letters read: spevma. 

The following passage, Purg. xxxiii. 67-90, consists of eight 
terzine: 

E se stati non fossero acqua d' Elsa 67 

Li penaier van! intomo alia tua mente, 

E il piacer loro un Piramo alia gelsa. 
Per tante circostanze solamente 70 

La giustizia di Dio nello mterdetto 

Conosceresti all' arbor moralmente. 
Ma perch' io veggio te nello intelletto 73 

Fatto di pietra, ed, impietrato, tinto 

S) che t' abbaglia il lume del mio detto, 
Voglio anco, e se non scritto, almen dipinto, 76 

Che il te ne porti dentro a te, per quello 

Che si reca il bordon di palma cinto.' 
Ed io: 'SI come cera da suggello, 79 

Che la figura impressa non trasmuta, 

Segnato h or da voi Io mio cervello. 
Ma perchfe tanto sopra mia veduta 82 

Vostra parola disiata vola, 

Che pill la perde ijuanto piil s' aiuta?' 
'Perch^ conoschi,' disse, 'quella scuola 85 

^]^Ch' hai seguitata, e veg^i sua dottrina 
i^^-^'Come pu& seguitar la mia parola; 
E^veggi vostra via dalla divina 88 

Distar cotanto, quaitto si discorda 

Da terra il ciel cne pit) alto festina.' 

Consider the following marginal letters on the first lines of 
the ter^ne: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



67 


E 


;o 


PER 


73 


MA 


76 


V 


79 


ED 10 51 


8a 


MA 


8S 


PER 


88 


E V 



There is an extraordinary symmetry in this passage which 
appears from the fact that the marginal letters of the first 
three terzinc spell; perema, and the mai^nal letters of the 
last three ter^ne spell: perema. Read first on the marginal 
letters of the first Hnes of the terzine, 67^9: peremas vi 
ED 10. Now read on the marginal letters of the first lines of 
the terzine, 79-88: peremas vi ed 10. These two readings 
key on the marginal letters of line 79. Ed 10 is, of course, 
Dante's signature. 

This passage follows the emgmajorte and the allusion to 
the Sphinx. There are several distinct references in the 
pass^e to a hidden meaning. Beatrice tells Dante that his 
intellect is fatto di ptetra, and that the light of her speech 
dazzles him. Moreover, in the terzina preceding the passage 
quoted, she says, line 64, dorme lo ingegno tuo, with the 
implication that on account of his sleeping wits Dante is 
unable to understand the hidden meaning of her words. 

There are two expressions in the passage under conader- 
ation in which I find a direct reference to the cryptt^aphic 
device which the passage contains. The first is the command 
of Beatrice that Dante bear in mind her words, which he is 
unable to understand: 

per quello 
Che si reca il bordon di palma cinto. 

The word bordon has a double meaning; it means, first, 
"pilgrim's staflF," and it means also "margin." In obedience 
to thjs command Dante carries away the words of Beatrice, 
as recorded in the text, with the margin di palma cinto — 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



282 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

wreathed, that is, mth the curves of the curiously sym- 
metrical acrostic. 

The second expression in the text in which I find a distinct 
allusion to the cryptographic device is the reply of Dante to 
the command of Beatrice; he replies that his brain is now 
stamped with her 

SI come cera da suggello, 
Che la flgura impressa non trasmuta. 

Now this impression of a figure stamped on Dante's brain is 
symbolized by the peremas on lines 79-88, which repeats the 
PEREMAS on lines 67-79. Moreover, this peremas, since it is 
come cera da suggello, reverses the form of the first peremas, 
without, as the text suggests, "transmuting" it. This re- 
versal of the form of the figure in its imprint is accurately 
paralleled by the letters perema which appear respectively 
on lines 67^3 and lines 82-88. The figure first appears thus: 

67 E 

70 per 

73 MA 

The cryptographic "impression" of this figure, which must 
necessanly be reversed, appears thus: 

83 HA 

85 per 

88 E 

Notice that the passage in which this cryptographic 
complex is found is bounded by the initial e of the first line, 
67, and the initial d of the last line, 90. 

The suggello here with the seal-like acrostic peremas 
suggests the sigillo in connection with per me si va (see 

pp. 224-5). 

The following passage. Par. vii. 1-27, conasts of nine 
terane: 

Osanna sanctus Deus Sabaotk, 
Superillustrans claritau tua 
Felices ignes horum malachoth! 



)doyGoO(^lc 



THE SEAL 283 

Cos), volgendosi alia nota sua, 4 

Fu viso a me cantare essa sustanza, 

Sopra la qual doppio lume s' addua: 
Ed essa e 1' altre mossero a sua danza, 7 

E 4)uasi velocissime faville, 

Mi si vetar di subita distanza. 
lo dubitava, e dicea: 'Dille, dille/ 10 

Fra me, 'dille,' diceva, 'alia mia donna 

Che mi disseta con le dolci stille'; 
Ma ({uella riverenza che s' indonna 13 

Di tutto me, pur per BE e per ICE, 

Mi richinava come I' uom en' assonna. 
Poco sofferse me cotal Beatrice, 16 

E comincii, raggiandomi d' un rise 

Tal, che net foco faria 1* uom Felice: 
'Secondo mio infallibile avviso, 19 

Come giusta vendetta giustamente 

Vengiata fosse, t' ha in pensier miso; 
Ma io ti solverd tosto la mente: 22 

E tu ascolta, chi le mie parole 

Di gran sentenza ti faran presente. 
Per non soffrire alia virtil che vuole 25 

Freno a suo prode, quell' uom che non nacque, 

Dannando si, dann6 tutta sua prole; 

Consider the following mar^nal letters on the first lines of 
the terrine: 



7 


E 


10 


I 


i.l 


MA QUE 


16 


POC 


IQ 


SE 


33 


HA 


25 


PER 



The marginal letters on the last three terzine spell: 
PEKEMAS. The marginal letters on the first six terzine spell: 
Ecco QUI POEMA. The complete reading, therefore, is: 
PEREUAS. ECCO QUI POEUA. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



284 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Conuder the following marginal letters of the sixth terzina: 
i6 PO 

17 E 

18 TA 

Read: poeta 

This entire passage is an intricacy of suggestive double 
meaning. In lines 10 and 11 dille is thrice repeated. For the 
development of the important cryptographic play on this 
word in connection with the name of Beatrice, see pp. 350-1. 

The following passage, Par. xiv. 133-139, consists of the 
last seven lines of the canto; 

Ma chi s' awede che i vivi su^getli 133 

D' ocni bellezza piil fanno pi^ suso, 
E ch io non m' era U rivolto a quelli, 

Escusar puommi di quel ch' io m' accuso 136 
Per escusarmi, e vedermi dir vero: 
Chi il piacer santo non i qui dischiuso, 

Perchi si fa, montando, ptil sincere. 139 

Consider the following marginal letters of the last line of 
the canto and of the first lines of the two preceding terzine: 

133 MA 

136 ES 
139 PER 

Read: peremas 

In Purg. xxxi. 98, is the Latin phrase: Asperges me. Like 
other Latin phrases which we shall examine in Chapter 
IX, these two words contain a cryptogram. Consider the 
following initial and contiguous letters: 



Read: peremas 

These words occur in the passage which describes the 
bathing^of Dante by Matelda.^For an explanation of the 
symbolism of this bathing see page 364. 



Di!,tizedOyGoO<^lc 



THE SEAL aSs 

The following passage. Par. xxiii. 55-66, consists of four 



Se mo sonasser tutte quelle Hngue 55 

Che Polinnia con le suore fero 

Del latte lor dolcissimo piil pingue. 
Per aiutanni, al millesmo del vero 58 

Non si verria, cantando il santo riso, 

E quanto il santo aspetto facea mero. 
E cos}, figurando il Paradlso, 61 

Convien saltar lo sacrato poema. 

Come chi trova suo cammin reciso. 
Ma chi pensasse il ponderoso tema, 64 

E 1' omero mortal che se ne carca, 

Nol biasmerebbe, se sott' esso trema. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
the terzine: 



55 


S 


S8 


PER 


61 


E 


64 


MA 


1: FEREMAS 



The acrostic on the initials is: 



64 k 
Read: spem 



Consider the following marginal letters of the second 
terzina: 



Read: peke 

Consider the foUowing marginal letters of the third terzina: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



186 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

6i E 
63 c 

63 CO 
Read: ecco 

Consider the following marginal letters of the fourth 
terzina: 

64 H 
6s E 

66 NO 
Read: nome 

The following passage, Par. xiii. 64-81, con»sts of six 
terzine: 

E queste contingenze essere intendo 64 

Le cose generate, che produce 

Con seme, e senza seme il ciel movendo. 
La cera di costoro, e chi la duce, 67 

Non sta d' un mode, e per6 sotto il segno 

Ideale poi piil e men traluce; 
Ond' egli avvien ch' un medesimo legno, 70 

Secondo specie, meglio e peggio frutta; 

E voi nascete con aiverso ingegno. 
Se fosse a punto la cera dedutta, 73 

E fosse il cielo in sua virtil suprema. 

La luce del suggel parrebbe tutta; 
Ma la natuta la di sempre scema, 76 

Similemente operando all' artista, 

Ch' ha r abito dell' arte, e man che trema. 
Pcr6 se il caldo amor la chiara vista 79 

Delia prima virtt dispone e segna, 

Tutta la perfezion quivi s' acquista. 

The initial letters of the first lines of the first four terrine 
are: 

64 E 

67 t 
70 o 
73 s 

Read; sole 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL »87 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
the last three terane: 
73 SE 

76 MA 

81 PER 

Read: peremas 

The PEREMAS and the sole key on the initial s of line 73. 
Notice that the marginal letters of the lines in which 
PEREMAS is found also spell spem or sperma. 

Analogous to the use of peremas, as an anagram for e 
sperma, to express the sex symbolism of the Dtvina Corn- 
media, there sometimes occur, in cryptographic form, words 
expressing copulation and fecundation, such as pene, and 
sole as a symbol of pene. Several examples have already 
been shown. Other examples follow. 

Following are the first five terzine of Inf. x: 

Ora sen va per un secreto calle 
Tra il muro delta terra e li martiri 
Lo mio Maestro, ed io dopo le spalle. 

'O virtil somma, che per gli empi giri 4 

Mi volvi,' cominciai, 'com' a te piace 
Parlami, e satisfammi a' miei desiri. 

La gente che per li sepolcri giace 7 

Potrebbesi veder? gi& son levati 
Tutti i coperchi, e nessun guardia face.' 

Ed egli a me: 'Tutti saran serrati, 10 

guando di Tosafi^t qui torneranno 
oi corpi cne lasst hanno lasciati. 
Suo cimitero da questa parte hanno 13 

Con Eplcuro tutti i suoi seguaci, 
Che r anima col corpo morta fanno. 

The initials of the first lines of these terzine are: 



13 3 
Read: o sole 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



288 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

The first four initials also read o leo. 

There may be a hint in secreto calU, line i. Sole and leg 
may echo> as symbols, the sense of virtH somma^ addressed 
to Virgil. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the lines of the 
first terzina: 



Read: LOTo 

Loto is used, like the English " clay," to designate mankind. 
The same word is found in the first lines oi Inf. ii, see p. 42. 

The following passage. Inf. x. 11-;^^, consists of four 
terzine: 

'O Tosco, che per la citti del foco 22 

Vivo ten vai cosi parlando onesto, 

Piacciati di restare in questo loco. 
La tua loquela ti fa manifesto 25 

Di quella nobil patria natio, 

Alia qual forse 10 fui troppo molesto.' 
Subitamente questo suono usdo 28 

D' una dell' arche: per6 m' accostai, 

Temendo, un poco piil al duca mio. 
Ed ei mi disse: 'Volgiti: che fai? 31 

Vedi \ik Farinata che s' fe dritto: 

Dalla cintola in su tutto il vedrai.' 

The initial letters of the first lines of these four ternne are; 



31 E 
Read: sole 

Notice that the passage with the acrostic sole begins with 
the words O Tosco, addressed to Dante. Dante thus identifies 
himself with the sun, as a symbol of his power to penetrate 
the city of Hell, which, as we have seen, is the womb. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 289 

The follomng passage. Inf. xwv. 43-54, conasts of four 
terane: 

La lena m' era del polmon si munta 45 

Quando fui su, en' 10 non potea pi\l oltre, 

Anzi mi assist nella prima giunta. 
'Omai convien che tu cosl ti spoltre,' 46 

Disse il Maestro, 'c\ik sedendo in piuma 

In fama non si vien, n^ sotto coltre, 
Senza la qual chi sua vita consuma, 49 

Cotal vestigio in terra di s6 lascia, 

Qual Fummo in aer ed in acqua la schiuma: 
E per6 leva su, vinci I' ambascia 52 

Con r animo che vince ogni battaglia, 

Se col suo grave corpo non s' accascia. 

The initial letters of the first lines of the terzine are: 



53 E 
Read: sole 

The following passage. Par. xxxiii. 124-126, consists of 
one terzina: 

O luce eterna, che sola in te sidi, 
Sola t' intendi, e da te intelletta 
Ed intendente te, ami ed arridil 

Consider the following marginal letters of the lines of this 
ter^na: 

134 o L 



Read: sole 

This SOLE coincides mth the sense of the text: luce 
eterna. The first word of the last line, Ed, suggests a cryptic 
identification of Dante with sole. For the extraordinary 
complex of cryptt^rams in the passage that includes these 
lines see Chapter III, pp. 106-11. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



290 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

The following passage, Purg. xv. 1 1 8-i 29, consists of four 
tendne: 

Lo Duca mio, che mi potea vedere 1 18 

Far si com' uom che dal sonno si slega, 

Disse: 'Che hai, che non ti puoi tenere? 
Ma se' venuto pitl che mezza lega 121 

Velando gh occhi, e con le gambe awolte 

A guisa di cui vino o sonno piega?' 
*0 dolce Padre mio, se tu m' ascolte, 124 

Id ti dirb,' diss' io, 'cib che mi apparve 

Quando le gambe mi furon si tolte.' 
E<r ei: 'Se tu avessi cento larve 127 

Sopra la faccia, non mi sarien chiuse 

Le tue cogitazion, quantunque parve. 

Consider the following marginal letters on the first lines of 
the terane: 

118 LO 
131 H 



Read: l'omo ed 

Now consider the initials of the same lines: 

118 L 

lai M 
134 o 

137 £ 

Read: lome 

Lome, as a form oflume, is used by Dante, Inf. x. 69. Thus 
by the cryptographic device of a double acrostic on the same 
lines, DantCj as "the man," associates himself with light as 
the symbol of the male power. Consonant with the acrostic 
LOME are the words: oedere, 118, and, line 122, oelando gli 
occhi. Notice also, as hinting at a cryptographic concealment, 
the words: larve sopra lajaccia, lines 127-128. For the one 
other use oi larve in the Divina Commedia, and the cryptogram 
which appears in the passage. Par. xxx. 91-99, see p. 138. 

Confirming the acrostic lome as the symbol of the pene- 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 291 

tradng power of l'omo ed is the acrostic on the three lines of 
the last terzina of the passage. Consider on these lines the 
following marginal letters: 

137 E 

13$ so 

139 L 

Read: sole 

The following passage, Par. xix. 40-51, consists of four 
terane; 

Poi comincid: 'Colui che volse il sesto 40 

All' estremo del mondo, e dentro ad esso 

Distinse tanto occulto e manifesto, 
Non pot6 9U0 valor si fare impresso 43 

In tutto 1' universo, che il suo verbo 

Non rimanesse in infinito eccesso. 
£ ci6 fa certo che il primo superbo, 46 

Che fu la somma d' ogni creatura, 

Per non aspettar lume, cadde acerbo: 
E quinci appar ch' ogni minor natura 49 

E corto recettacolo a quel bene 

Che non ha fine, e s^ con sg misura. 

Con^der the initial letters of the first lines of these four 
terzine: 



Read: pene 

The acrostic pene read in connection with the passage in 
which it appears makes the passage fairly bristle with double 
meanings. Note especially the reference to tutto I'universo, 
line 44, the female form in which non poti suo valor si Jare 
impresso. Notice also the allusion to the fall of the primo 
superbo, line 46. I leave the reader to work out for himself 
the further implications of the passage in the light of the 

acrostic PENE. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



292 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Following is one terzina, Purg. xiv. lo-ij: 

£ disse r uno: 'O anima, che litta 
Nel corpo ancora in ver lo ciel ten vai. 
Per cantik ne consola, e ne ditta 

Consider the following marginal letters of the lines of this 
terzina: 



Read: pene 

Notice the sense of the text as confirming this acrostic 
PENE. The soul xsfUta nel corpOj and is going thus to Heaven. 
This is exactly the symbolism of the entire Divina Commedia, 
in which Dante uses for the symbol of his journey to Heaven 
the PENE in the female body of the universe. 

The following passage. Par. x. I46-148, consists of the last 
three lines of the canto: 

Movcrsi e render voce a voce in tempra 
Ed in dolcezza ch' esser non pu& nota, 
Se non colth dove giolr s' insempra. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the lines: 

146 M 

147 E 

148 SE 

Read: seme 

La sposa di Dio appears in the passage immediately pre- 
ceding, line 140. 

The following passage is Par. xxiii. 1-3: 

Come 1' augello intra 1' amate fronde, 
Posato al nido dei suoi doici nati, 
La notte che le cose ci nasconde. 

Consider the following marg^al letters of the lines: 



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3 LA 

Read: copola 

The sense of the acrostic is consistent with the impli- 
cations of the text. 

The following pass^ie, Par, xxiii. 109-120, consists of four 
terzine: 

CosI la circulata melodia 109 

Si sigillava, e tutti glj altri lumi 

Facean sonar lo nome di Maria. 
Lo real manto di tutti i volumi lis 

Del mondo, che piii ferve e piil s' awiva 

Nell' alito di Dio e nei costumi, 
Avea sopra di noi 1' interna riva 115 

Tanto distante, che la sua patvenza 

L& dov* io era ancor non m' appariva. 
Per& non ebber gli occhi miei potenza 118 

Di se^uitar la coronata fiammai 

Che SI Iev& appresso sua semenza. 

Consider the following marginal letters on the first lines 
of the four terzine: 
109 cosi 

112 LO 
115 A 
118 P 

Read: si copola 

Lo reolmanto, line 112, is, as usually interpreted, the ninth 
Heaven. It is aiso the symbol of the womb, as its number 
su^estSj and as the text explicitly develops. Immediately 
preceding the words lo real manto is the phrase: sonar lo nome 
di Maria. The pass^c ends with the words sua semenza, " her 
offspring." And following the passage is the figure of the child 
and its mother. On the four lines following lo real manto 
consider the following marginal letters: 



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294 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



Read: dante 

The following passage. Par. xxvi. i33-i42> consists of the 
last ten lines of the canto: 

PHa ch' io scendessi all' infernale ambascia, 133 

/ s' appellava in terra il Sommo Bene, 

Onde vien la letizia che mi fascia; 
El si chiamb da poi, e ci6 conviene, 136 

Chi r uso de' mortali h come fronda 

In ramo, che sen va ed altra viene. 
Nel monte che si leva piil dall' onda, 139 

Fu' io con vita pura e disonesta 

Dalla prim' ora a quella che seconda. 
Come il sol muta quadra, 1' ora sesta.' 142 

Consider the following marginal letters of the last line of . 
the canto and of the first lines of the three preceding ter^ne: 

133 P 
136 E 
139 NE 
143 COMB 

Read: come pene 

Now consider the foilowing marginal letters of the lines 
which give the two names of God: 

134 I s 
13s o 

136 EL 

Read: elios 

Next consider the following marginal letters of the last two 
lines of the pass^: 



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The significance of this acrostic coda becomes more clear 
if it is read in connection with the acrostic on the first four 
terane of the next canto. Par. xxvii. 1-12: 

'Al Padre, al Figlio, alio Spirito Santo' 

Cominci6 'Gloria' tutto il Paradiso, 

SI che m' inebbriava il dolce canto. 
Ci& ch' io vedeva mi sembiava un riso 4 

Dell' universe; per che mia ebbrezza 

Entrava per 1' udire e per lo viso. 
O giotaf o ineffabile allegrezzat 7 

O vita intera d' amore e di pace! 

O senza brama sicura ricchezza! 
Dinanzi agli occhi miei le quattro face 10 

Stavano accese, e quella che pria venne 

Incon)inci& a farsi piil vivace; 

The initials of the first lines of these four terzine are: 



Read: coda 

The foregoing acrostics should be considered together. 
Dante is identifying the early names of God, / and El, with 
his symbols, pene and sole and with the God of the Chris- 
tian Trinity. The passage at the end of Par. xxvi is full of 
sex symbolism. The descent into the infemde ambascia, line 
^32j suggests copulation. The monte che si leva repeats the 
meaning of the acrostic come peke. There may be a sug- 
gestion of copulation in the two acrostic readings: coda. 
The symbolism of the sun as God, which appears in the 
acrostic elios, is carried out in il sol. Par. xxvi. I42. Elios is. 
a word which Dante uses, Par. xiv. 96; it may be formed from 
the Hebrew Eli or the Greek JIXhw. TTie sun, as Dante says, 
Par. X. 28, is 

Lo ministro maggior delta natura. 

The story of Ugolino, Inf. xxxiii, contains cryptograms 
which indicate the phallic symbolism of light in connection 



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296 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

with the mother symbolism of the tower. Note first the four 
tcrzine, In}, xxxiii. 46-57: 

Ed io sentii chiavar I' uscio di sotto 46 

All' orribile torre; ond' io guardai 
Nel viso a' miei fieluioi senza far motto. 

Io non piangeva; si dentro impietrai: 49 

Piangevan elli; ed Anselmuccio mio 
Disse: "Tu guardi si, padre: che haif" 

Percib non lagrimai, nfe rispos' io 52 

Tutto quel giomo, n& la notte appresso, 
Infin che I' altro sol nel mondo usdo. 

Come un poco di ra^o si fu messo 55 

Nel dolotoso carcere, ed io scorsj 
Per quattro visi it mio aspetto stesso; 

Conader the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
these four terzine: 



Read: copio. ed id 

Now what is it that, as Dante says in the acrostic, he 
copies P The answer to this question reveals the fundamental 
reason for Dante's introduction into the Divina Commedia of 
the story of Ugolino. It was not enough for Dante that the 
story is touching in its literal aspect; he must make it serve, 
just as he makes every other detail of the poem serve, his 
symbolic purpose. Reduced to its briefest terms, the story is 
as follows: Ugolino, tc^ether with his four sons, is shut up in 
a tower. The key was turned in the lower entrance of the 
tower and the five were left to starve to death. This story is 
used by Dante as a symbol of the entire theme of Infemo^ 
at the end of which it appears. The first step for the inter- 
pretation of the story depends on the recc^nition of the 
widespread use of the tower as a symbol of the mother. The 
mother symbolism of the tower appears in the association of 
the tower with the Shulamite in the Song of Songs, as was 



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THE SEAL 397 

commonly recc^nized by the Christian symbolists of the 
Middle Ages; and the same symbolism was recognized, as we 
have already seen, in connection with the Tower of Babel. 
That Dante intends the mother symbolism of the tower in 
which Ugolino and his sons were imprisoned appears from 
the acrostic on the terzina in which the tower is first men- 
tioned. Inf. xxxiii. 22-24: 

Breve pertugio dentro dalla muda 

La qual per me ha il titol della fame, 

E in che conviene ancor ch' altri si chiuda. 

Consider on these three lines the following mai^nal letters: 

93 B 

33 LA QUAL 

34 E 

Read: qua bella 

According to this acrostic, therefore, the tower is asso- 
ciated with Bella, the mother of Dante. 

The mother symbolism of the tower is further implied in an 
acrostic on the lines 55-57, describing the entrance into the 
tower of a poco dt raggio. 

Consider on these lines the following marginal letters: 

55 COME 

56 NB 

57 PE 
Read: come peke 

This acrostic confirms the mother symbolism of the tower 
by implication^ since it shows that the light which pene- 
trates the tower is to be interpreted as a phallic symbol. 
It follows from the phallic symbolism of the light which 
penetrates the tower that the tower must be a fem^e symbol. 

In the tower as the symbol of the mother, therefore, the 
father and the sons are enclosed tt^ether, as in the biological 
situation of the union of the father and the mother in the act 
by which the sons are conceived, and also as in the situation 
necessary to rebirth, where the son, like the father, is enclosed 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



298 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

in the maternal womb by an act of union. In view of this 
symbolism of the tower several details of the Ugolino story 
take on a new significance. Let me refer especially to the turn- 
ing of the key In the uscio di so/to, line 46; the key is phallic, 
the uscio di sotto represents the vulva, and the interior of the 
tower represents the uterus. Thus the tower is a reproduction 
in miniature of Dante's Hell, the prisoners in the tower, as 
in the womb, correspond to the souls of the damned, and 
the father and sons together in the same womb express the 
incest and rebirth symbolism of the poem. The astronomical 
allusions in the story of Ugolino, to the moons, line 26, and 
to the rising sun, line 54, and the allusion to the muda, lines 
22-23, *s having H titol dellajame, confirm the mother and 
rebirth symbolism of the story, which must be understood 
as a sort of summary of the whole Inferno. 

The symbolism of the story of Ugolino is the fundamental 
determinant for Dante's use of it in the Divina Commedia. 
And a similar determinant is to be assigned for the use of 
every episode in the poem. Let me illustrate by a reference to 
the story of Paolo and Francesca and the story of Ulysses. 
In regard to the story of Paolo and Francesca I need only 
point out that it is a story implying Incest, as in the love 
between brother and sister (sister-in-law). I have already 
referred, in connection with the further sex symbolism of 
this story, to the correspondence of the winds on which the 
souls of the lovers are borne to convulsive vaginal move- 
ments, and also, perhaps, to flatus as associated with primi- 
tive and infantile conceptions of anal birth. The incest 
symbolism of the story of Ulysses is developed in more detail 
and is confirmed by some interesting acrostics. According to 
Ulysses' account of his last journey he departed from Ithaca, 
his home, in a small vessel, and sailed through the Pillars of 
Hercules and the western ocean, until he arrived in sight of 
the mountain of Purgatory, where he was overwhelmed with 
a storm and drowned. To understand the symbolism under- 
lying the story of the "mad flight" of Ulysses, it must be 
remembered that the vessel, as in the story of the Ark, a.t\^ 
the sea are amonp the preeminent symbols of th e^ mother . 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 299 

The mother symbolism of the sea and of the Pillars of 
Hercules has ab-eady been developed in the discussion of the 
maggior voile. The mother symbolism of the mountain of 
Purgatory, at which the journey ends, has likewise been 
developed in detail. T n^ (Connection with the sea as a mother 
s ymbol, sailing the sea, o r tTftvpllin|y, is to be understood^ as 
the s ymbol of sexual union . It represents, indeed, the course 
ofTPERMA through the maternal body. That the sea is, 
indeed, to be understood as a symbol of the mother in the 
"mad flight" of Ulysses is curiously but distinctly implied 
by Ulysses himself, who tells how he could not be restrained 
from the journey by his ties to father, son, or wife. The 
omission of any Elusion to his mother, in this list of his home 
ties, is unmistakably a hint that it is his mother who is 
calling him from the sea. So important is the sea symbolism 
here, and the symbolism of sailing the sea, that Dante calls 
attention to it by acrostics spelling the Greek words for 
"sea" and "I sail." 

The story of Ulysses appears in Inf. xxvi. Lines 70-81 of 
this canto are as follows: 

Ed egli a me: 'La tua preghiera i degna 70 

Di moka lode, ed io perd 1' accetto; 

Ma fa che la tua lingua si sostegna. 
Lascia parlare a me: en' io ho concetto 73 

Cid cne tu vuoi: ch' ei sarebbero schivi, 

Perch' ei fur Greci, forse del tuo detto.' 
Poich^ la iiamma fu venuta quivi, 76 

Dove parve al mio Duca tempo e loco, 

In (juesta forma lui parlare audivi: 
'O voi, che siete due dentro ad un foco, 79 

S' io meritai di voi mentre ch' io vissi, 

S' io meritai di voi assai o poco, 

The initials of the first lines of the terzine are: 

70 E 

73 L 

76 P 

79 o 
Read: plbo 



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300 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

UMu is Greek for "I sail." 

Now in connection wirh this acrostic pleo read lines 
85-96, in which Ulysses begins the story of his voyage: 

Lo ma^ior corno delU fiamma antica 85 

Comincii) a crollarsi mormorando, 

Pur come quella cui vento afFacica. 
Indi la cima qua e Ik menando, 88 

Come fosse la lingua che parlasse, 

Gittd voce di fuori, e disse: 'Quando 
Mi diparti' da Circe, che sottrasse 91 

Me piil d' un anno Ik presso a Gaeta, 

Prima che si Enea la nominasse; 
Nfe dolcezza di figlio, n^ la pieta 94 

Del vecchio padre, ni il debito amore, 

Lo qual dovea Penelope far lieta. 

Consider the follomng marginal letters of the first lines of 
these terzine: 



Read: limne 

Aifiyyt is Homeric Greek for "sea." It may be that Dante's 
allied ignorance of Greek has been too much insisted on. 
Following are the last ten lines of Par. xxii: 

Quindi m* apparve iI temperar di Giove 145 

Tra il padre e il figlio; e qutndi mi fu chiaro 

II variar che fanno di lor dove. 
£ tutti e sette mi si dtmostraro 148 

Quanto son grandi, e quanto son veloci, 

Ecome sono in distante riparo. 
L' aiuola che ci fa tanto feroci, 151 

Volgendom' io con gli eterai Gemelli, 

Tutta m' apparve dai colli alle foci: 
Poscia rivolsi ^i occhi agli occhi belli. 154 

Con^der the marginal letters of the last line of the canto 
and of the first lines of the three preceding terzine: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



154 PO 
Read: qui pleo 

The following passage, Pttrg. vm. 58-69, consists of four 
temne: 

*0,' diss' lo lui, 'per entro i tocht tristi 58 

Venni stamane, e sono in prima vita, 
Ancor che 1' altra si afidando acquisti.' 

E come fu la mia risposta udita, 61 

Sordello ed egli indietro si raccolse. 
Come Kente ci subito smarrita. 

L' uno a viretlio, e 1' altro ad un si volse 64 

Che sedea 11, gridando: 'Su, Corrado, 
Vieni a veder che Dio per grazia volse.' 

Poi volto a me: 'Per quel singular erado, 67 

Che tu dei a colut, che si nasconde 
Lo suo pnmo perch^, che non gli h guado, 

The initials of the first lines of these terzine are: 

58 o 

61 E 

64 L 

67 P 

Read: pled 

The idea of sailing is appropriate to Sordello's words, 
lontam acque and largfu onde^ in the lines immediately pre- 
ceding and following this passage. 

The following passage. Inf. x. 127-136, consists of the last 
ten lines of the canto: 

'La mente tua conservi quel ch' udito 127 

Hai contra te,' mi comand6 quel Saggio, 

'Ed ora attendi qui:* e drizz6 il dito. 
'Quando sarai dinanzi al dolce raggio 130 

Di quella il cui bell' occhio tutto vede. 

Da lei saprai di tua vita il viaggio.' 



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302 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Appresso volse a man sinistra il piede: 133 

Lasciammo il muro, e gimmo in ver lo mezzo 
Per un sentier ch' ad una valle fiede, 

Che infin lassil facea spiacer suo lezzo. 136 

Consider the following marginal letters of the last line of 
the canto and of the first lines of the three preceding terzine: 



136 c 
Read: l'acqua 

This word appears in the following acrostic reading and 
relates perhaps, to Dante's water symbolism. 

The following passage, Purg. vi. 76-87, consists of four 
terzine: 

Ahi serva Italia, dt dolore ostello, 76 

Nave senza nocchiere in gran tempesta, 
Non donna di provincie, ma bordello! 

Quell' anima gentil fu cos! presta, 79 

Sol per lo dolce suon della sua terra, 
Di fare al cittadin suo quivi festa; 

Ed ora in te non stanno senza ^uerra 82 

Li vivi tuoi, e I' un 1' altro si rode 
Di quei che un muro ed una fossa serra. 

Cerca, misera, intomo dalle prode 85 

Le tue marine, e poi ti guarda in seno 
Se atcuna parte in te di pace gode. 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
the four terzine: 

76 A 
79 QU 

83 E 

85 C 
Read: acque 
Cf. the image of a vessel in a storm. 

DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 303 

Further cryptographic confirmation of the sex symbolism 
of the journey of Dante, as phallus and sperma, appears in 
the "gibberish" which Pluto utters at the approach of 
Dante, Inf. vii. i : 

Pape Satan, pape Satan, aleppe. 

Before showing the cryptograms contained in this line, let us 
examine the possible meaning that may be attached to the 
words themselves. 

Pape is generally recognized as the Italian equivalent of 
the Latin papae, an interjection used, as in Boethius, to 
express astonishment. Possibly this is the correct inter- 
pretation, though I surmise that the word is a deformation, 
m the voce chtoccia of Pluto, of papa, as for high priest and 
indeed for father. Aleppe is recognized as aleph, the first 
letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This "a" is commonly inter- 
preted as another exclamation, like the English or Italian 
"Ah!" Holbrook, in his Dante and the Animal Kingdom^ 
suggests that aleppe as a stands here for Christ; and he refers 
to such a use of the letter in patristic literature. In the opinion 
of Holbrook, then, Pluto is using the name of Christ as a 
blasphemy: "Ho, Satan! Ho, Satan! Christ!" 

I agree that aleppe stands here for Christ, but the word, 
I am convinced, is not used as an exclamation of blasphemy. 
Dante is descending into Hell as Christ descended into Hell. 
Since such a descent into Hell by a living man was quite 
fuor del modem' uso, Pluto mistakes Dante for Christ himself 
and calls a warning to Satan, from whom Christ would 
naturally be supposed to be coming to deliver some of Satan's 
victims, exactly as Christ had delivered the souls of the 
patriarchs on his descent into Hell after the crucifixion. But 
it is not wholly a mistake on the part of Pluto, for Dante is 
constantly making the same identification himself. 

Of the highest importance for the symbolism of the Divina 
Commedia is the reference, in the words here addressed to 
Pluto by Virgil, to the sin for which Satan, or Lucifer, was 
punished as the superbo slrupo. The "proud adultery" is the 
oripnai an which was committed first by the divine Lucifer, 



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304 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

"son of the morning" and in reality the same as Christ; and 
afterwards repeated by Adam and Eve. In the divine group 
of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, adultery is necessarily 
incest. The descent of Christ into Hell symbolizes incest as 
the means of rebirth. It is on account of the incest symbolized 
by the descent of Christ into Hell that Pluto, mistaking 
Dante for Christ, calls out his warning to Father Satan. 
Satan, who was the incestuous son in Heaven, becomes in 
Hell the father against whom the sin is again committed, and 
would naturally be warned &% father against the son who is 
coming to commit the sin. 

The symbolism of the descent of Christ into Hell is plainly 
enough indicated in Virgil's reference to it. Inf. xii. 34-45: 

Or vuo* che sa^pi, che I' altra fiata 34 

Ch' io discest quaggiu nel basso infemo, 

Questa roccia non era ancor cascata. 
Ma certo poco pria, se ben discemo, 37 

Che venisse Colut che la gran preda 

Levo a Dite del cerchto supemo. 
Da tutte parti 1' alta valle feda 40 

Tremo si, ch' io pensai che 1' universe 

Sentisse amor, per Io quale e chi creda 
Piu volte il mondo in Caos converso: 43 

Ed in quel punto questa vecchia roccia 

Qui ed ahrove tal lece riverso. 

The difficult path that is guarded by the beast, the descent 
of the divine son into the foul female valley, the tremors of 
love in it, the delivery of the creatures that it contained, and 
the chaos to which that love reduces the world — such are the 
features of the passage that make it unmistakably recog- 
nizable as the expression of a typical phantasy of sexual 
union with the mother earth and rebirth. 

It is noteworthy, in connection with Dante's account of the 
descent of Christ into Hell, that Eve, " the mother of all 
living," is not included with Adam among the spirits whom 
he delivers from Hell. The fact that Eve is not delivered from 
Hell confirms my identification of Hell with the mother; 
Eve cannot be delivered from Hell since Eve, as " the mother 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 30s 

of all living," and Hell are one and the same, the womb from 
which "the children of God" are delivered. 

The preceding explanation of the words of Pluto, correct 
as ] believe it to be as far as it goes, is only partial; it does not 
touch the meaning of the line as a cryptogram. 

Consider in the words of Pluto the following final and 
contiguous letters: 



PAPE 


E 


SATAN 


TAN 


PAPE 


E 


SATAN 


TAN 


ALEPPE 


ALEPPE 



Read: ante, ante, aleppe 

If a D were added to each ante, the reading would be: 

DANTE, DANTE, ALEPPE (or CHRIST). 

That a concealed d is to be supplied in order to complete 
the signature appears from the acrostic on the first four lines 
of the canto: 

'Pape Satan, pape Satan aleppe,' 
Comincid Pluto colla voce chioccia. 
E quel Savio gentil, che tutto seppe, 

Disse per confortarmi : 'Non ti noccia 

Consider on these lines the following mai^nal letters: 



Read: pace d 

Thus the complete telestic reading on the words of Pluto 
is: DANTE, DANTE, CHRIST. Dante and Christ are confused, or, 
as constantly in the Divina Commedia, identified. 

There is another telestic reading on the same words. 
Consider the following final and contiguous letters: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



3o6 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

PAPE PE 

SATAN N 

PAPE E 

SATAN N 

ALEFPE PE 

Read down on the first three words: pene. Read up on 
the last three words: pene. The two readings key on e of 
the third word. 

Just as in the first telestic reading Dante and Christ are 
associated, so Dante is here associated with pene. Phallic 
symbolism for Christ appears in his well-known symbols, 
the fish and the key. 

THE GARDEN OF EDEN 

In the foregoing analysis of Dante's Hell, Purgatory, and 
Paradise, I have shown that the structure of each of these 
regions corresponds to the structure of the female body. 
And I have also shown that the structure of the female body 
appears in each of these regions twice. In Hell there are, 
first, the interior of Hell itself, extending from the surface 
of the northern hemisphere to the centre of the earth, and, 
second, the interior that extends from the centre of the earth 
to the surface of the southern hemisphere. In Purgatory 
there are, first, the Mountain of Purgatory, and second, the 
Terrestrial Paradise that crowns the mountain of Purgatory. 
In Paradise there are, first, the nine moving spheres, and, 
second, the motionless Empyrean beyond the nine moving 
spheres. This reduplication of the female structure in Hell, 
Purgatory, and Paradise, respectively, makes each of these 
regions in itself a symbol of the mother in her dual aspect of 
good and evil, the good aspect of retaining the child in her 
womb and the evil aspect of expelling the child. Dante 
assigns, as I have shown, the same dual aspect to the earth, 
dividing as he does the surface of the earth between the 
mother symbol of land and the mother symbol of water. 

This division of each of the various abodes of man, Elarth, 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



THE SEAL 307 

Hell, Pulsatory, and Paradise, into two parts is an idea that 
derives from sources more remote than Dante; it appears, 
indeed, in the story of the Garden of Eden. 

Now the Garden of Eden, as the region in which man 
passed the first period of his life on earth, is simply a symbol 
for the womb, and the happy existence in the Garden of 
Eden is simply the life of the child in the womb of its mother. 
The expulsion from the Garden of Eden, which, according to 
the account of Genesis, was due to the sin of eating of the 
tree of the knowledge of good and evil, corresponds to the 
expulsion of the child from the womb in delivery. Thus the 
Biblical account of the earth at the time of Creation, as 
divided between the Garden of Eden and the region outside 
the Garden of Eden, is exactly analogous to Dante's account 
of Earth, Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, respectively, as a 
symbol of the dual character of the mother. 

That the story of the Garden of Eden symbolizes the life 
of the child in the womb appears from the fact that in this 
account of the happy condition of man in his original state, 
the hunger of man, as in the intra-uterine existence, was 
satisfied without labor, and that the loss of the happy 
condition was somehow connected with the acquiring of 
consciousness, as in the eating of the fruit of the tree of 
knowledge. But the conception of the perfect life as the 
prenatal life in the womb is not confined to the story of the 
Garden of Eden. It appears, indeed, in the classical myth of 
the Golden Age, as described by Hesiod, and in anatt^ous 
myths of widely scattered races. If it is possible, as is now 
often maintained, that unconscious memories of the intra- 
uterine life survive in the adult man, the wide-spread con- 
ception of the intra-uterine life as the original happy state 
may be derived from these memories. But in any event, the 
precise expression of this conception in the Divina Commedia 
corresponds to a universal belief. 

Among the myths of the original happy condition of man 
is the myth that the original human beings were male and 
female in the same body. This myth of andrc^ynous beings 
adds another confirmation to the interpretation of the story 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



3o8 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

of the Garden of Eden as referring to intra-uterine existence; 
for in the period of pregnancy, a son in the womb of his 
mother might easily be considered to form with the mother a 
single being that is both male and female. This myth of an 
original andrc^nous being survives, in a modified form, 
indeed, in the Biblical account of the creation of man; for in 
the account of the creation of Eve from a rib of Adam it is 
implied that Eve had existed in Adam before she was 
separated from him. 

The account of the creation of Eve is obviously obstetrical; 
it is consistent, therefore, with the myth of an original 
androgynous being, in that the male Adam is here portrayed 
in the female role of giving birth. But there is a further 
implication in the Biblical account of the creation of Eve that 
is of the highest importance for the interpretation not only 
of the symbolism of the Garden of Eden but also of the 
symbolism of the Dtoina Commedta, in which, as I believe, 
the symbolism of the Garden of Eden is consciously 
reproduced. 

■ The Biblical account that Eve was taken from the body of 
Adam is simply a way of saying, consistent with the assumed 
priority of man, that Adam was taken from the body of Eve. 
In other words, Eve is to be understood as the mother of 
Adam, exactly like the Garden of Eden itself, in which she 
is the central female Agure. 

This is not the place, however, to develop the symbolism 
of Eve as the mother of Adam in detail. Let it suffice for our 
purposes, therefore, to recall that she is designated as "the 
mother of all living," and to recognize that if she is indeed 
to be understood as the mother of Adam, she must at the 
same time be understood to have lived in an incestuous 
relation with him. What I wish principally to show at present 
is that, whether or not Eve herself be the mother of Adam, 
the Garden of Eden must certainly be recognized as the 
symbol of the mother of Adam, and that his expulsion from 
the Garden of Eden was due to a sexual fault committed in it. 
This fault, therefore, was incestuous. The incestuous char- 
acter of the fault is expressed in the character of the punish- 



ed oyGoot^lc 



THE SEAL 309 

ment, which was Adam's expulsion from the Garden, as in 
birth, "to till the ground from whence he was taken." 
Punishment, in all andent symbolism, is a repetition of the 
sin for which the punishment is imposed; for Adam, there- 
fore, to be doomed to till the ground from whence he was 
taken means that he was doomed to till, in the symbolic sense 
of the word, his mother Earth. 

After the expulsion from the Garden of Eden, the origi- 
nal happy condition of man, man is left with the desire 
to return to it; and the desire to return to the Garden of 
Eden, or to the original happy condition, is the desire to 
return to the mother — a return that is to be accomplished, 
in the symbolism of ancient myth and religion, by an 
incestuous reunion that shall result in the rebirth of the 
incestuous son in the womb from which he has been expelled. 
The rebirth symbolism as involving a return to the intra- 
uterine existence, an existence which is thus to be recc^- 
nized in the Hebrew account of the Garden of Eden, in the 
classical myth of the Golden Age, and, indeed, in many myths 
of original happiness, is fundamental in the symbolism of 
the Divina Commedia. 

I have already quoted, as expressing in general terms 
Dante's conception of the universal desire to return to the 
mother, the following words from the Convivio: II sommo 
desiderio di ciascuna cosa, e prima dalla Natwa data, i lo 
ritomare a/ suo Principio. The importance which he attaches 
to this idea appears from the fact that he develops it with the 
utmost exphcitness in his commentary on the canzone: 
Amor, the nella mente mi ragiona, Convivio iii. 3. I urge the 
reader to refer to this passage, as the importance of its 
implications for Dante's mother symbolism can scarcely be 
ex^;erated. In a significant phrase in this passage Dante even 
ascribes to inanimate nature the same tendency to return to 
its source: Lf corpora composte prima, siccome sono U miniere^ 
hanno amore al loco, dooe la loro generazione i ordinata, e in 
quello crescono, e da quello hanno mgore e potenza. 

In the further development of the idea in the same passage, 
Dante makes use of an ancient myth for its mother symbol- 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



310 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

ism. This myth is the myth of Antaeus, who was the son of 
the earth. In the struggle between Antaeus and Hercules 
Antaeus lost his strength whenever Hercules lifted him from 
the earth; he regained his strength every time Hercules per- 
mitted him to touch the earth again. The touching of the 
earth, from which Antaeus was born, was, accordingly, for 
Antaeus, a return to his mother. And it is obvious that the 
use of this myth, as symbolizing incest and rebirth, is 
conscious and deliberate on the part of Dante, for it occurs in 
a philosophic analysis in prose of his own poetical meaning. 
The conscious use which he makes of this myth goes far to 
prove that he has the same conscious and deliberate purpose 
in the use of all the myths which he has included in the 
Dioina Commedta. It proves, indeed, that for Dante myths 
are important as having meaning, and that all the myths 
which he includes in the Divina Commedia must be con- 
sistently interpreted to show the meaning which Dante 
attaches to them. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



Chapter VIII 
BEATRICE 



DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc 



MByGoOl^lc 



Chapter VIII 
BEATRICE 



THE identity of Beatrice is the key to the symbolism of 
the Divina Commedia. For a general discussion of the 
various theories as to her identity the reader may refer to 
the essay on "Beatrice" in Moore's Studies in Dante. These 
theories Moore reduces to three types, which he designates 
respectively as the historita'., the ideal, and the symbolical. 
The advocates of these types he designates respectively as 
Realists, Idealists, and Symbolists. 

"The Realists (properly so called)," says Moore, "main- 
tain that the Beatrice of Dante was none other than the 
historical Beatrice Portinari, transfigured by degrees 'from 
glory to glory' in the imagination of the poet, till her image 
becomes Httle short of divine . . . But there are certain 
spurious Realists," he adds, with the emphasis of the 
orthodox, "whom we feel tempted to call 'Separatists,' who 
admit that the Beatrice of Dante was a real contemporary 
person whom Dante loved, perhaps called Beatrice, perhaps 
not; but maintain that she was in any case a separate person 
from Beatrice Portinari: admitting, however, that beyond 
that negative assertion nothing more can now be known, or 
even guessed, concerning her." 

According to the "Idealists," "the Beatrice of Dante is 
merely 'la donna idealizzata,' 'the ideal of womanhood'; the 
' ewig-Weibliche,' the embodiment (we ought hardly to say 
' incarnation ') of female perfection, not realized, and never to 
be realized, on this earth." 

According to the "Symbolists," Beatrice is merely the 



13131 

asyGoOi^lc 



314 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

personiiication of some abstract quality, or entity, such as 
Wisdom, Theology, or Imperial Power. A symbol, as Moore 
uses the term, "is a pure invention of the imagination— an 
arbitrarily chosen figure or type under which something else 
is represented, the thing so represented being the sole 
reality." According to this definition, then, Beatrice as 
symbolical has no relation whatever to womanhood, whether 
historical or ideal. Such a definition of symbolism means 
nothing more, indeed, than mere personification. 

With none of the theories as Moore defines them can I 
agree. His definition of symbolism, adequately as it may 
represent the ideas of the commentators who maintain that 
the figure of Beatrice is a mere personification of some 
abstract quality, is inadequate to the true nature of symbol- 
ism, especially as symbolism was understood by the medieval 
mystics. 

According to Moore's definition, the "sole reality" of a 
symbol is the thing which it symbolizes. For the mystical 
symbolist, on the contrary, the symbol as well as the thing 
symbolized must have a reality of its own, and the likeness 
which he discovers in the symbol and the thing symbolized 
Is his ground for asserting their essential identity. Definition of 
symbolism is beyond the scope of the present volume. I will 
confine myself at present, therefore, to a mere statement of 
my belief that there are certainly symbolical elements in the 
character of Beatrice: but that these symbolical elements do 
not preclude, as Moore states, the reality of Beatrice as a 
woman. But whether or not that woman was Beatrice Por- 
tinari is another question. 

The theory of the "Idealists" that the Beatrice of Dante is 
merely the expression of the poet's conception of perfect 
womanhood in the abstract is inconsistent with the character 
of the Divifia Commedia as an allegory. By Dante's own 
definition, given in the Convivio and the letter to Can Grande, 
the Divina Commedia, as allegory, has four meanings, literal^ 
allegorical^ moral, and anagogical or mystical; and by the 
"anagogical or mystical meaning" Dante signifies the 
symbolical. The meaning which the "Idealists" attach, to 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 31S 

Beatrice as simply perfect womanhood corresponds to the 
moral meaning, and it Is inconceivable that the central 
figure of the allegory, which Dante expressly declares has 
four meanings, should have only the moral meaning. The 
possibility of interpreting the character according to its 
multiplicity of meanings is precluded by the "Idealists," 
and aJso, indeed, by the "Symbolists." 

BEATRICE PORTINARI 

The " Realist " identification of the Beatrice of Dante with 
Beatrice Portinari has nothing in its favor except the dubious 
testimony of Boccaccio, given almost fifty years after the 
death of Dante. In view of the fabulating character of his 
"Life" of Dante, one of the curiosities of the history of 
criticism is that Boccaccio's statement about Beatrice Porti- 
nari as the original of the Beatrice of Dante has been accepted 
with so much credulity. Boccaccio's statement is as follows: 

"Perciocch^ auesta h la primiera volta che di 
questa donna nel presente libra si fa menzione, non 

fare indegna cosa alquanto manifestare, di cui 
autore in alcune ^arti della presente opera 
intenda, nominando lei . . . Fu adunque questa 
donna (secondo la relazione di fededegna persona, 
la quale la conobbe, e fu per consanguinity 
strettissima a lei) figliuola di un valente uomo 
chiamato Folco Portinari, antico cittadino di 
Firenze: e comecch^ I'autore sempre la nomini 
Beatrice dal suo primitivo, ella fu chiamato Bice: 
ed egli acconciamente il testimonia nel Paradise, 
laddove dice: 'Ma quella riverenza, che s'indonna 
Di tutto me, pur per B e per ice.' E fu di costumi 
e di onesti laudevole, quanto donna esser debba, 
e possa; e di bellezza e di legeiadria assai ornata; 
e fu moglie d'un cavaliere de' Bardi, chiamato 
messer Simone, e nel ventiquattresimo anno della 
sua eti pa$g& di questa vita, negli anni di Cristo 

MCCXC.'* 

In regard to this statement, apparently so straightforward, 
I ask the reader to notice, first, that Boccaccio provides a 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



3i6 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

convenient loop-hole for himself in basing his statement on the 
authority of an anonymous /eJedegna persona; and, second, 
that immediately after making the identification, he refers to 
the strange use which Dante makes in Par. vii. I4, of the first 
and last letters of the name of Beatrice: be . . . ice. 
The passage to which Boccaccio refers is Par. vii. 10-15: 

lo dubitava, e dicea: 'Dille, dille,' in 

Fra me, 'dille,' diceva, 'alia mia donna 
Che mi disseta con le doici stille'; 

Ma quella riverenza che s' indonna 13 

Dl tutto me, pur per be e per ICB, 
Mi richinava come 1' uom ch' assonna. 

Now Dante's use here of the letters be and ice is, as I shall 
show later, cryptographic: he is manifestly, of course, as 
Boccaccio suggests, alluding to Bice as a form of the name 
Beatrice; but the manifest allusion is couched in such a way 
as to express a hidden meaning which suggests that Beatrice 
is someone quite different from Beatrice Portinari. It is 
certainly curious, therefore, that Boccaccio, after identifying 
Beatrice with Beatrice Portinari, should refer to what is 
really a cryptc^aphic play on the letters of her name, a play 
which contradicts the identification (see pp. 346-7). Why, if 
Boccaccio wished merely to say that Dante used the form 
Bice, did he refer to this obscure and veiled form of Bice, 
per BE e per ICE, when his purpose would have been better 
served by referring to the use of the name which Dante makes 
quite simply in the A'l/a Nuova, xxiv. 58: 

lo vidi monna Vanna e monna Bice? 

If any reason can be found for believing that Boccaccio 
was aware of the cryptographic character of the Divina 
Commedia, his reference to the cryptographic b (be) and ice 
may well be taken to indicate that he was intentionally 
contradicting himself in his identification of Beatrice with 
Beatrice Portinari. 

It happens that there is evidence that the cryptographic 
character of the Dtttna Commedia was not unknown to 
Boccaccio; for Boccaccio wrote a poem, obviously influenced 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 317 

by the Divina Commedia, which cont^ns acrostics. The poem 
to which I refer is the Antorosa Visione. Like the Divtna 
Commediaj the Amorota Visione is a vision and an allegory. 
In its subject matter, moreover, the Amorosa Visione^ like 
the Divina Commedia, tells how the poet, guided by a lady, 
sees heroes and lovers of the past. The Amorosa Visione^ 
like the 'Divina Commedia, is written in terza rima, and the 
initial letters of all the terane throughout the work compose 
three poems, in the first of which the whole is dedicated to 
Boccaccio's lady-love, under her name Maria. Following is 
this first acrostic jonnetto: 

Mirabil cosa forse la presente 
Vision vi parr&, donna gentile, 
A riguardar si per lo nuovo stile 
Si per I2 fantasia ch'& nella mente. 

Rimirandovi un dl subitamente 
Bella, leggiadra et in abit 'umile, 
In volenti mi venne con sottile 
Rima trattar parlando brievemente. 

Adunque a voi, cui teneo donna mia 
Et chui senpre disio ai servire 
La raccomando] madame Maria: 

E prieghovi, se fosse nel mio dire 
Difecto alcun, per vostra cortesia 
Corre^iate amendando il mio fallire 

Cara Fiamma, per cui'l core 5 caldo 
Que' cbe vi manda questa visione 
Giovanni i di Boccaccio da Certaldo.* 

Observe that this poem, which is itself an acrostic, contains 
another acrostic, for the initials of the first, third, fifth, 
seventh, and ninth lines spell: maria. This device, elaborate 
but obvious, once attention is directed to it, seems to have 
escaped notice for a long time, for according to the Nuona 
Enciclopedia Italiana, Girolamo Claricio in 1521, almost two 
centuries after the composition of the poem, was the first to 

'Boccaccici. Opere V(Atari. Vol. xiv, Ed. Ignazio Moutier, Firenze. 1833. 
It is amusing to note that this editor apologizes for the "barbarous" spelling 
in tbc acroetic poems, and calls attention to lines that are too long or too short. 
It ia no wonder that in working out this long trick Boccaccio sometimes nodded; 
cryptographic devkca are subject to impeHectiona and iiregularities. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



3i8 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

discover that L'Amorosa Visione is an acrostic poem. 
Boccaccio's method of using. For his acrostics, the initials of 
the first lines of the terzine, is analogous to Dante's method, 
in many of the acrostics in the Dhina CommeJia, of using the 
initials of the first lines of terzine. 

In the light of the fact that in the Amorosa Visione 
Boccaccio imitated the Dtvina Commedta in form and subject 
matter and embodied in his poem, moreover, acrostics 
analc^us in form to some of the acrostics of the Dtvina 
Commediay it can hardly be rash to surmise that he was aware 
of the crypt<^aphic character of the poem which he imitated. 
And if Boccaccio was aware of the cryptographic character of 
the Dtvina Commedia, he may be presumed to have been 
aware of the cryptographic character of the b (be) and ice, 
to which he refers in connection with his identification of 
Beatrice with Beatrice Portinari. The cryptic use of these 
letters by Dante points, as Boccaccio seems thus to have 
been aware, to the fact that Beatrice Portinari was not the 
Beatrice of the Divina Commedia. 

It is my belief, accordingly, that Boccaccio made the 
identification of the Beatrice of the Divina Commedia with 
Beatrice Portinari as a blind; and that in making the ' 
identification which he knew to be false, he gave at the same 
time, for the benefit of those who should be capable of taking 
advantage of it, the clue, in the allusion to the cryptic be and 
ICE, to her true identity. If Boccaccio did indeed perpetrate 
this fraud, it may be considered as a pious fraud; it protected 
the anonymity of Dante's lady in the same spirit that Dante 
himself had protected it. It must not be forgotten that Dante 
had taken elaborate precautions, to which he confesses in the 
Vita Nuova, to conceal the identity of the lady to whom his 
devotions were dedicated. For the purpose of concealing her 
identity he pretended love for other ladies, whom he called 
the sckermi of his true love. In the Vita Nuova, v. 23, he 
speaks, in referring to a lady with whom he thus pretended, 
dijare di questa . . . donna schermo della veritade; and 
again. Vita Nuova, vi. 2, he says that questa donna era 
schermo di tanto amore. Concealment of the identity of the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 319 

lady love was the literary convention; it was of the essence, 
indeed, of the esotericism of the Platonic or chivalric love so 
widely celebrated in the poetry contemporary with Dante, 
Boccaccio, and Petrarca. There is reason to believe, therefore, 
that in his "pious fraud," Boccaccio, who had himself con- 
cealed under the name of Fiammetta his devotions to Maria^ 
was moved by loyalty to his master to protect from the eyes 
of the profane the secret of his master's love. In view of the 
fact that his own work is so closely related to that of Dante 
in its esoteric and cryptographic character, his identification 
of Beatrice with Beatrice Portinari, the only evidence that 
exists for the identification, must be regarded_with suspicion. 
But whether this evidence be regarded with suspicion or 
not, there is an objection to the identification of the Beatrice 
of Dante with Beatrice Portinari which remains insur- 
mountable. Dante would not have called by her real name 
the lady whose identity he took such pains to conceal. I have 
already referred to the elaborate method of concealment 
which Dante confesses that he practiced. In order to keep 
the secret of the identity of his true love, he pretended love, 
as he tells us in the f^ita Nuova, for another lady whom he 
calls the schermo della verilade. The schermo delia veritade, 
I believe, has a double meaning into the discussion of which 
1 cannot enter now. But it certainly indicates, in its literal 
meaning, that the desire to conceal the identity of his lady 
was profound on the part of Dante. How, then, can he be 
considered to have been willing to refer to her as Beatrice if 
Beatrice, as Boccaccio says, was her real name ? For Dante to 
have referred to Beatrice Portinari as Beatrice — supposing 
for the moment that Beatrice Portinari was really the lady — 
would have been tantamount, in a small city like the Florence 
of Dante's time, to telling her name in full. In view, therefore, 
of the concealment which he desired, it is necessary to 
conclude that the reai name of his lady was not Beatrice, and 
therefore not Beatrice Portinari. 

There is nothing in the history of criricism, it seems to me, 
that surpasses the credulity with which the identification of 
Beatrice with Beatrice Portinari has been accepted. The 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



320 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Vita Nuova, the first work of Dante's in which he speaks of 
Beatrice, must have had for its readers his own contempor- 
aries, his fellow citizens and friends, the very eyes from which 
he wished his secret to be kept. Yet it is generally supposed 
that in the Vita Nuooa Dante betrays his secret in the very 
breath with which he speaks of keeping it! It cannot even be 
objected that, as the Vita Nuova was written after the death 
of Beatrice, the neces»ty for concealing her identity had 
ceased to exist for Dante. In the first place, the death of a 
mistress, Platonic or non-Platonic, can hardly have appealed 
to the scruples of Dante as a release from the necessity of 
protecting her name. And in the second place, it would appear 
from the Vita Nuova that he had already referred to her as 
Beatrice before the time which he assigns for her death. I am not 
now speaking of the use which Dante constantly makes of the 
name of Beatrice in the early prose parts of the Vita Nuova; 
for the prose of the Vita Nuooa was certainly written after 
the date assigned for the death of Beatrice. I am speaking 
now of his allusion to her as monna Bice in the fourteenth 
sonnet> Vita Nuova, xxiv, a poem which, as he tells in the 
prose comment, was written immediately after the meeting 
with her which it describes. Since it thus appears from 
Dante's evidence that he had used this name before the date 
assigned for her death, it can hardly be argued that the 
obligation to conceal her true name had been removed by her 
death. But the directest evidence that Beatrice was not the 
true name of his lady is given by Dante himself in his first 
reference to her. Vita Nuova, ii. 6-7, as la gloriosa donna della 
mia mente, la quale fu chiamata da molti Beatrice, i quali non 
sapeano che si chiamare. With whatever shade of meaning 
these words may be interpreted — and they have proved a 
stumbling-block to many — their unavoidable implication is 
that the true name of the lady was somehow not Beatrice. 

The case for Beatrice Portinari is so weak that the only 
relation that she may reasonably be supposed to have had 
with the Beatrice of Dante is to have served as a schermo 
della veritade. It is just possible that, as Beatrice Portinari 
happened to have the same name that Dante had chosen for 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 331 

the lady of the Vita T^luova and the Divina Commedia, 
Dante may have permitted it to be believed that she was 
indeed the object of his devotions, just as he had permitted 
the same false belief about other ladies. It is in the sense, 
therefore, of creating a schermo della veritade that I think 
Boccaccio must be understood in his identification of 
Beatrice with Beatrice Portinari. 

I have referred above to the literary convention which 
required a poet to write of his lady under a fictitious name. 
This widespread convention, which indicates that Beatrice 
must also have been a fictitious name, appears in the 
" Fiammetta " of Boccaccio. To the possible objection to this 
argument that the convention may have been disregarded by 
Dante just as it was disregarded by Petrarca in the poems 
which he addressed to the historic Laura, I reply that the 
historicity of Laura as Laura has yet to be proved. The kind 
of proof that is commonly produced to identify the Laura of 
Petrarca with Laura, the daughter of Audibert de Noves and 
the wife of Hugh de Sade, is shown in Moore's essay on 
Beatrice, when he says: "And as to Laura such scepticism is 
simply absurd, since her existence is as certain as anything in 
history, and her family survives near Avignon to this day." 
The proof of the actual existence of Laura de Sade has noth- 
ing whatever to do with proving that she was the original of 
the Laura of Petrarca. I might as well say that I know that 
William Shakespeare wrote the Shakespeare plays because I 
have been in his house at Stratford. There are, as a matter of 
fact, very good reasons for believing that the Laura of 
Petrarca was really some one with a name not Laura. I cannot 
go into these reasons here. Let me, however, point out certain 
curious parallels. Dante is supposed to have seen Beatrice 
for the first time in May, and the third meeting with her 
which he describes was apparently in a church. The first 
meeting of Boccaccio with his mistress, Maria, whom he 
celebrated as Fiammetta, was on Easter Eve in a church. 
The first meeting of Petrarca with Laura was in Holy Week 
in a church. In view of the fact that we are dealing here with 
three great poets, almost contemporaries, who followed more 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



322 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

or less the same literary conventions, the coincidence of their 
first meetings with their mistresses in a church at the rebirth 
time of the year and of Christ suggests that we must take the 
accounts of these meetings and the identity of the ladies 
thus met with a grain of allegory. The theme of rebirth, thus 
suggested by the three Poets, is proved to be consciously 
intended by Dante in the very title of the Vila Nuota. 

BELLA 

Grouped with the "Realists (properly so called)" — to 
continue the devout terminolc^ of Moore — there are those 
whom he designates as "spurious Realists," or "Separatists." 
These heretics among the Dantists, while admitting that the 
Beatrice of Dante must have been an actual contemporary of 
Dante's, reject the identification of her with Beatrice 
Portinari and declare that her idenrity can never be known. 
Ishare the beliefthat the Beatrice of Dante was not Beatrice 
Portinari; but I am far from believing that it is impossible to 
know who she was. As I have already indicated, I identify 
the Beatrice of Dante with Bella, the mother of Dante. 

My identification of the Beatrice of Dante with Bella, the 
mother of Dante, is based, first, on the allegorical meaning 
of the Vita Nuooa and the Divina Commedia, and second, on 
cryptograms which I have deciphered in the Divina Corn- 
media. In order to present this cryptographic evidence 
adequately, I shall have to develop briefly the interpretation 
of the character to which the cryptc^raphic evidence points. 

Of the mother of Dante little is known. It is certain that 
her Christian name was Bella, and it has been 'conjectured 
that she was the daughter of Durante di Scolaio degli Abati. 
If the conjecture is true, the Christian ^name of Dante, as a 
contraction of Durante, was jxjssibly derived from his 
maternal grandfather. 

Bella was the first of the two wives of Dante's father, 
whose name is usually spelled AHghiero. She gave birth to 
Dante in Florence, and Dante was her only child. She died 
in or before 1278. 



)doyGoO(^lc 



BEATRICE jaj 

The second wife of Alighiero was Lapa, the daughter of 
Chiarissimo Cialuffi. By his second wife, Lapa, Alighiero had 
three children. The names of both Bella and Lapa appear 
in a document dated May i6, 1332, at which date Lapa was 
still alive.* 

The fact that the mother was succeeded by a stepmother 
in the life of Dante was a profound determinant, I believe, for 
the peculiar development of his imagination; it supplied, by 
accident, a personal experience of two mothers which predis- 
posed him to the myth of the two mothers, or the dual 
mother, that fdays so important a part in the symbolism of 
the Divina Commedia. 

In 1278, the latest date, according toToynbee, that can be 
assigned for the death of Bella, Dante was thirteen years old. 
His association with his mother, therefore, can scarcely, at 
the longest, have extended beyond his childhood. There 
is very good evidence, however, that his mother held a unique 
position in Dante's affection. This evidence consists of the 
fact that she is the only member of his immediate family to 
whom he refers in the course of his entire work. The very 
phrasing of his reference to her implies, as I shall show, the 
peculiar character of his filial love. 

Dante's reference to his mother is made in the words 
addressed to him by Virgil, Inf. viii. 44-45: 

Alma sdegnosa, 
Benedetta colei che in te s'incinse. 

This is the only overt reference in the entire works of Dante to 
Dante's mother; and outside of what he has to say about his 
ancestors, it is the only reference in his entire works to any 
member of his family. The remarkable feature of this 
reference to Dante's mother is that it is a paraphrase of the 
words addressed to Christ, Luke xi. 27, in reference to Mary, 
the mother of Christ: 

"And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain 
woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto 

*My authority for the foregoing statements regarding Bella is P^et 
Toynbee, in hia Dante AUtkieri. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



324 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which 
thou hast sucked." 

Now the implication of the words which Dante puts in the 
mouth of Virgil are of the greatest importance for the inter- 
pretation of the symbolism of the Divina Commedia. In 
paraphrasing in his address to Dante the Biblical address to 
Christ, Virgil is implying that Dante is to be identified with 
Christ as the divine son. This identification of Dante with 
Christ accords with the numerous examples of the same 
identification that we have already noticed. And in para- 
phrasing, in his reference to the mother of Dante, the Biblical 
reference to Mary, the mother of Christ, Virgil is implying 
that Bella, the mother of Dante, is to be identified with 
Mary, the mother of Christ, as the deified or divine mother. 
Now this identification of Bella with Mary as the divine 
mother is, as we shall see, constantly paralleled both in the 
yUa NuQva and the Divina Commedia by the intimate asso- 
ciation which Dante describes as existing between Beatrice 
and Mary. 

It has sometimes been doubted whether the words which 
Dante here puts in the mouth of Virgil are actually intended 
by Dante as a reference to his own mother. The proof that he 
so intends them appears in the interior sequences to be 
found in the passage in which the words occur. The sequences 
appear as foUows, Inf. viii. 42-48 : 

42 dicendo via costa con gll Altri can! 

43 lo collo pol con Le braccia mi cinse 

44 baclomini IL volto e disse alma sdegnosa 

45 BEnedettA colei che in te s'incinse 

46 quel fu al monDo persona orgogliosa 

47 bonta non e che sua UEmoria frogi 

48 cosl s'e I'ombra sua qui fuRiosa 

Read A of altri, 42; l of ie, 43; l off/, 44; be of benedetta, 

45: BELLA. 

Read AofifWi/fffiJ, 45;Dof ffl£>H(/o, 46;MEof ffl^OTor(i3, 47; 
R of Juriosa, 48: madre. 
Note that the two sequences key on benedetta, line 45. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 32s 

Associated with the beloved mother, as she thus immis- 
takabiy appears in this passage, is the dream-like distortion 
of the hated father in the figure of Filippo Argenti, whose 
jealous act in laying his hands on the boat, a mother image, in 
order to prevent Dante's passage, the symbol of incestuous 
union with the mother im^, is so cruelly resented by Dante 
as the jealous son. 

There is evidence that Dante was dominated to an un- 
usual degree by his love for his mother. I am referring now 
to a peculiar habit of thought which shows in all his work — 
a habit of thought which led him to form his abstract con- 
ception of life in terms of mother imagery. This habit is the 
measure of the emotion with which the memory of his mother 
dominated his imagination. Dante concaved as mother 
images, as I showed in the preceding chapter, the earth, the 
encircling sea, Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise; he recreated the 
universe in the im^ of the mother whom he had lost in his 
youth in order that he might return to her in imagination. And 
it is only as expressing this same desire to return to his mother 
that he can be completely understood when he enunciates as 
the universal tendency of life: // somma desiderio di ciascuna 
coso, e prima della Natura data, i lo ritomare al suo Principio. ' ' 

It is impossible within the limits of the present volume to 
trace the mother imagery in the works of Dante as it spreads 
from his abstract conception of the universe to his con- 
ceptions of the details of daily life. But there is not a page, 
I venture to say, in the whole of the Divina Commedia where 
this imagery may not be seen by those who have eyes to see it, 
I will confine myself, therefore, to citing a single instance 
here. Dante's birthplace was Florence; and having been 
exiled from Florence under penalty of death, he was unable 
to return to it. But the desire to return to it was with him 
constandy, and led to long and fruitless attempts on his part 
to have the decree of exile repealed. Now in the imagination 
of Dante Florence and the image of his mother were alike in 
being both his birthplace, and they were alike in being both 
denied to him under penalty of death. And they were alike, 
accordingly, in being both sua principio to which he desired. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



326 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

as his sommo desideriOj to return. In his love of Florence and 
even in his hatred of Florence, as the source of his misery, 
Dante identified the city with his niother,and it is only in the 
light of this identification that his allusions to the dty, 
expressed as they constantly are in terms of mother imagery, 
can be properly understood. In the pathetic allusion to his 
exile in the bi^nning of the Convhio he speaks of the 
doUissimo seno of the belliisima ejamosissimafiglia di Roma, 
Fiorenza . . . nel quale nato e nudrito Jut fino al colmo 
delta mia vita. And in the description of primitive Florence, 
Par. XV, which he puts into the mouth of his ancestor 
Cacciaguida, he contrasts her primitive purity with her 
contemporary licentiousness, expressing the contrast in 
unmistakable references to the sexual life. 

We have already seen (pp. 92-4) some of the cryptograms 
in this passage, in which Dante's native city denies him and 
names him. That it was his conscious intention in this 
description of Florence to identify the city of his birth with 
his mother is proved by another cryptt^am which the 
passage contains. Following are the lines immediately 
succeeding the passage containing the acrostic: ella non 

NOMA DANTE : 

Bellincion Berti vid' io andar cinto 112 

Di cuoio e d' osso, e venir dallo specchio 

La donna sua senza il viso dipinto; 
£ vidi quel de' Nerti e auel del Vecchio 115 

Esser contenti alia pelle scoperca, 

E le sue donne al fuso ed al pennecchlo. 
O fortunate! Ciascuna era certa 118 

Delia sua sepoltura, ed ancor nulla 

Era per Francia nel letto deserta. 
L' una vegghiava a studio della culla, I2i 

E consolando usava 1' idioma 

Che prima i padri e le madri trastuUa; 
L' altra, traendo alia rocca la chioma, 124 

Favoleg|lava con la sua famielia 

De' Troiani, di Fiesole, e di Roma. 
Saria tenuta allor tal maraviglia 127 

Una Cianghella, un Lapo Salterello, 

Qual or saria Cincinnato e Comiglia. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 327 

A cosl riposato, a cos) bello 130 

Viver di cittadini, a cosi Ada 

Cittadinanza, a cosl dolce ostello, 
Maria mi die', chiamata in alte grida, 133 

E nell' anrico vostro Batisteo 

Insieme fui cristiano e Cacciaguida. 
Moronto fu mio frate ed Eliseo; 136 

Mia donna venne a me di val di Pado, 

E quindi il soprannome tuo si feo. 

This passage consists of nine terzine. Nine is the maternal 
number. Consider the following mai^nal letters on the first 
lines of the nine terzine: 



184 


LA 


137 


SA 


130 


A 


133 


UARIA 


136 


MOR 


Read: bella 


. E MARIA AMOROSA 



Now consder the fallowing mai^nal letters of the first 
terzina: 

112 BEL 

113 DI 

114 LA 

Read: di bella 

This passage and the passage preceding it (see p. 92) are 
an elaborate play on the idea of mother and son. Caccia- 
guida, the root (radice) of Dante, is speaking in pr»se of 
good old-fashioned domestic mothers in the uncorrupted 
Florence of an earlier time. Dante's mother, Bella, appears 
twice in cryptograms, and the Virgin Mary, line 133, appears 
in the open text. Note, lines 114 and 137, la donna sua and 
mia donna. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



328 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Another instance of Dante's identification of Bella with 
Florence occurs in Par. xxiii, 84-88, in which Bella is also 
identified with the Virgin Mary. The interior sequence in 
this passage appears as follows: 

84 senza veder principio dei fuLgori 

85 o benigna virtu cbe si gL'imprentl 

86 su t'esaltasti per lArglrmi loco 

87 agll occhl 11 obE non eran possentl 

88 11 nome del Bel fior ch'lo sempre invoco 

Read: l oifulgqre, 84; l of gP, 85; a of iargtrmt, 86; e of 

Cht, 87; B of *^/, 88: BELLA. 

The reading terminates on M. II nome del Bel is a hint to 
look for a name. Bel fior is the mystic rose, the Virgin. And 
fior to any Florentine suggests his mother city. 

Another instance of the association of the name of Bella 
with the Vii^n Mary is found in an interior sequence in the 
Hymn to the Virgin, Par. xxxiii. 13-16: 

13 donna sel tanto grande a tanto vaLl 

14 Che' qual vuol grazia ed A te non ricorre 

15 sua disianza vuoL volar senz' all 

16 la tua BEnignita non pur soccorre 

Read L ofvali, 13; a, I4; l of vuol. 15; be oi benignita, r6: 



THE MOTHER CULT 

The emotional disposition of Dante to recreate, out of the 
miscellaneous materials of his personal experience, the 
mother whom he had lost in his childhood in order that he 
might return to her in imagination is further to be inferred 
from the fact that he allied himself with the various con- 
temporary forms of thought which expressed the mother cult. 

In many primitive religions there appears the vast and 
vague figure of the Mother of the Gods.* This figure must be 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 329 

understood, in the last analysis, as expressing for the people 
who believed in the divine mother the need of including in 
their religious conceptions of the universe a counterpart of 
the human mother. The Mother of the Gods was identified by 
Homer with Rhea, the wife of Kronos, and she was supposed 
to have prevented Kronos from swallowing their son Zeus by 
concealing Zeus and by giving Kronos to devour in place 
of her son a large stone wrapped in swaddling clothes. The 
story was localized in Crete, which thus became the birth- 
place of Zeus. The significance which Dante attaches to this 
myth appears from his curious elaboration of the myth in 
Inf. xiv. 

Rhea appears in the four terzine, Inj. xiv. 94-105: 

'In mezzo mar siede un paese suasto,' 94 

Diss' esH allora, 'che s' appella Creta, 

Sotto ilcui rege fu gift il mondo casto. 
Una montagna v' h, cne eik fu lieta 97 

D' acqua e di fronde, cne si chiamd Ida; 

Ora % diserta come cosa vieta. 
Rea la scelse gi& per cuna fida 100 

Del suo (i|liuolo; e per celado me^lio, 

Quando piangea vi tacea far le gnda. 
Dentro dal monte sta dritto un gran veglio, 103 

Che tien volte le spalle inver Damiata, 

E Roma guarda si come suo speglio. 

Consider first the following marginal letters of the first 
lines of these terzine: 

94 IN 100 R 

97 u 103 D 

Read; nudri 

In connection with the idea of nourishment consider also 
the following maipnal letters on the same lines: 

94 IN M 100 REA 

97 UNA 103 D 

Read: in una madre 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



330 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

There is a hint of a hidden meaning in celar, line loi. 
SpegliOy line 105, like specckio in other passages in the Divina 
Commedia, is a mother image. Cf. the tre specchi in P^. ii. 
loi (see p. 216). The mirror which reproduces the image of 
the father is obviously the mother. Here the mirror is Rome, 
the mother city. The sea and the mountain are mother 
symbols. Tht old man who stands erect in the mountain is 
phallic. 

The conception of the divine mother, which is an essential 
feature of many primitive religions and which is to be 
understood as a sort of universalization of the human mother, 
is apparently absent from the orthodox forms of Christianity. 
The conception survives, indeed, in the expression in the 
Apostles' Creed that Christ "was conceived of the Holy 
Ghost." But the implication of this phrase as to the mother- 
hood of God is seldom recognized, and the three Persons of 
the Trinity are generally considered as male, a divine father- 
hood with which a divine motherhood is not consciously 
associated. 

But in the Christian picture of the eternal, or universal, 
life as the complete fulfillment of the life of man, the absence 
of anything adequately corresponding to the profound and 
enduring relation of child to mother was felt from the begin- 
ning as an imperfection — an imperfection in the picture itself 
which could not possibly be conceived as existing in the 
divine reality. So great is the need of a child for its mother 
that the "children of God" were unable to believe without 
reservation in a picture of the perfect Hfe in which the mother 
was missing. 

From the very beginning, therefore, of the Christian era, 
there appeared the tendency to put back into the picture, 
either in the form of legend or of heretical doctrine, the figure 
of the divine mother that had been already more or less 
eliminated from the orthodox form of faith. 

It is possible to assign to two causes the elimination of the 
divine mother from the orthodox form of Christianity. The 
first was the early Christian ideal of asceticism, according to 
which the sexual life, even under the sanction of marriage. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 331 

was regarded as reprehensible. Rect^nition of the "Mother- 
hood of God" would have entailed a rect^ition of sex as an 
element of the divine life that was at utter variance with the 
ascetic ideal of early Christianity. It is a fact, moreover, that 
the cult of the divine mother in pagan religions had been 
accompanied almost invariably by ceremonies of an ex- 
tremely licentious character. It was natural, therefore, that 
the Christian Fathers should look askance at a cult, in what- 
ever Christian rehabilitation, which had proved in practice 
to lead to sexual irregularities in the conduct of the 
worshippers. 

The second cause to which may be assigned the elimination 
of the concept of the divine mother from orthodox Chris- 
tianity was the rationalistic tendency, due to the influence 
of Greek thought, to define the nature of God in terms not 
merely anthropomorphic. TTie "accident" of sex could 
accordingly find no place in the definition of the Christian 
Trinity as "substance." This rationalistic tendency in the 
definition of the Trinity is "reconciled" in the Dioina 
Commedia with the concept of the Trinity as a family Triad; 
the reconciliation appears in the opening lines of Inferno iii, 
where the three persons of the Trinity are associated respec- 
tively with the three categories of the mind, will, intellect, 
and emotion. 

But neither the asceticism nor the rationalism of early 
Christianity could suppress the popular demand for a form 
of faith in which the divine mother, as a counterpart of the 
human mother, was assigned an adequate role. This popular 
demand was met in two ways: first, by the identification of 
the Holy Ghost as the divine mother, and second, by the 
virtual deification of Mary, the human mother of Christ, as 
QforbKot, the mother of God. 

The cult of the mother in the early history of Chrisdanity 
was developed in an extremely explicit form in Gnosticism, 
"the manifold systems of belief," according to the article on 
Gnosticism in Hastings' Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, 
"prevalent in the first two centuries of our era, which 
combined the Christian teachings with a gnosis, or higher 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



332 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

knowlec^e." The gnosis, or " higher knowledge, " to which the 
Gnostics laid claim was, according to Theodotus, "the 
knowledge of who we were, what we have become, where we 
were, into what place we have been thrown; whither we are 
hastening, whence we are redeemed; what is birth, what is 
rebirth." 

Fundamental in most, if not all, of the Gnostic sects is the 
conception of the Godhead as a family Triad, consisting of 
the supreme unknown Father, whose essence is light, and, 
associated with him, the Mother and the Son. This divine 
mother is explicitly identified by the Gnostics with the Holy 
Ghost of the orthodox Christian Trinity. 

The Gnostic elements in the Dioina Commedia are 
numerous and precise; they have never, however, been 
sufficiently recc^ized. I shall have occasion, later in the 
chapter, to show in what way Beatrice resembles the 
Gnostic figure of the divine and fallen mother. But in the 
meantime I can cite as Gnostic certun elements in the 
Dioina Commedia which are independent of the mother 
symbolism of Beatrice, but which indicate the mother sym- 
bolism of the poem as a whole. 

Common to Gnosticism and the Dioina Commedia is the 
idea of rebirth. The Gnostic belief in the ascent of the soul 
through successive stages of bdng is analogous to Dante's 
ascent through the four stages of Earth, Hell, Purgatory, and 
Paradise. This ascent is analogous to the "Wheel of Birth," 
a concept related to the Pythagorean concept of the trans- 
migration of the soul. From the "Wheel of Birth" the soul 
can escape only in union with God, a union which Dante 
conceives himself as accomplishii^ at the end of his poem. 

One of the numerous expressions in the Divina Commedia 
of the idea of rebirth is to be found in the phrase seconda 
morte, a phrase that has given much trouble to the com- 
mentators. This phrase appears twice. The first appearance 
is in Inf. \. 115-117: 

Ove udirai le disperate strida 
Di quegli antichi sptriti dolenti, 
Che la seconda morte ciascun grida: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 333 

The spirits are "crying out for" the second death as some- 
thing to be desired, so that Norton's "proclaim" for ^ida 
misses the sense. Death and birth, as we have already seen, 
are ambivalent terms. The death of a spirit in Hell means its 
birth in another region. 

The same implication of rebirth in seconda morte is evident 
in the second appearance of the words in Par. xx. 115-117: 

E credendo s' accese in tanto foco 
Di vero amor, ch' alia morte seconda 
Fu degna di venire a questo gioco. 

The "fire of love" is like the fire of Hell, through which the 
soul passes to be reborn. 

Another idea common to Gnosticism and the Divina 
Commedia is the use of light as the symbol of the divine 
principle of good, and of darkness as the symbol of the 
principle of evil. 

There is a Gnostic belief that the heavens were formed out 
of the body of the male-female Sophia or Frunicos. This 
belief is obviously analogous to Dante's idea of Heaven, as 
well as of Hell and Purgatory, as having the form of the 
female body. 

According to another Gnostic belief, there proceed from 
the Father, or Supreme God, a number of beings in a descend- 
ing scale of dignity; these divine creatures in their totality 
make up the Pleroma, the fulness of all blessedness and 
perfection. Distinguishable as they are from each other, they 
are manifestations of the one God, who is himself impersonal 
and unknowable. This belief has its analogies in the Angelic 
Orders of the Divina Commedia and in the orderly arrange- 
ment, according to their degrees of merit, of the souls who 
meet Dante in his ascent through the heavenly spheres. 

The use of cabala, mystical letters, and numbers for 
cryptic meanings was prevalent among the Gnostics. The 
cryptographic character of the Dtvina Commedia cannot, 
therefore, be considered as unrelated to the cryptography of 
the Gnostics, numerous examples of which may be found in 
The Gnostics and Their Remains^ by C. W. King. Especially 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



334 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

prevalent among the Gnostics was the custom of calculating, 
by various methods, the numerical value of proper names 
and then expressing these names by other names or phrases 
which have the same numerical value. TTie Gnostics had also 
the custom of renaming their neophytes, the new names 
being chosen for the appropriate or fortunate numerical value 
which they were supposed to possess. The theory which 
underlay this use for the same person or thing of different 
names having the same numerical value was, according to 
The Gnostics and Their Remains, that " things equal to the 
same thing were equal to each other." Of Dante's use of the 
enigmatic cinquecento diece e cinque. King says: "Tliat genu- 
ine Gnostic Dante employs with great effect this numerical 
expression of a Name." 

These few of the manifold analogies between Gnosricism 
and the Divina Commedia, however much or little they prove 
in themselves the mother symbolism of the Divina Commedia, 
prove that the Divina Commedia is intimately related to the 
Gnostic forms of thought in which the cult of the mother is an 
essential feature. 

The cult of the mother is implicit in the Gnosdc doctrine 
of the motherhood of the Holy Ghost. But the form in which 
the cult attained its widest expression was in the exaltation of 
the Virgin Mary, as combining the perfections of the human 
as well as of the divine mother. The cult of the Virgin Mary 
developed to extremes which earned the name of Mariolatry. 
Traces of the cult of the Virgin Mary are certainly to be 
recc^inized in the Divina Commedia. 

Many of the Gnostic ideas, meeting as they did the 
hostility of the orthodox church of Rome, survived in more or 
less modified form in the Middle Ages in certain heretical 
sects and in the writings of the Catholic mystics. I need not 
here discuss the mystical elements of the Divina Commedia; 
for our present purposes they may be taken for granted. But 
what I wish to emphasize is the fact that in medieval 
mysticism the cult of the mother is likewise highly .developed. 
Indicative of the mystical cult of the mother are many 
expressions in the writings of the great mystic St. Bernard, 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 335 

the St. Bernard who leads Dante to the Vii^n Mary in the 
conclusion of Paradiso. 

In his Gnosticism, in his cult of the Vir^ Mary, and in 
his mysticism, Dante is related to the principal forms of 
religious thought in the Middle Ages in which the cult of the 
mother is expressed. And in all these forms of the cult of 
the mother there is an element which, for lack of a better 
term, must be called incestuous. I have frequently already 
been obliged to refer to the suggestion of incest in primitive 
myth and medieval symbolism. Let it suffice, therefore, in 
regard to Gnosticism, to the cult of the Vii^n Mary, and to 
medieval mysticism, to say that the incestuous element in 
these forms of thought arises necessarily from the idea, 
expressed almost universally in terms of the sexual life, of the 
union of man, conceived as a son, with God concaved as a 
mother. 

There remains to be briefly considered a form of the cult of 
the mother which was social rather than religious. I am 
referring now to the remarkable convention prevailing in the 
Middle Ages that was known as chivalric love. This con- 
vention, which sought to reproduce in society an equivalent 
of the religious cult of the Virgin Mary, must, I believe, be 
understood in the last analysis as a simulation between lover 
and mistress of the relations between the human son and the 
divine mother. These relations, necessarily, are the same, in 
ideal form, as the relations between the son and his human 
mother. That the relationship between lover and mistress in 
chivalric love was indeed a simulation of the ideal relation- 
ship between son and mother is proved by the rules of the so- 
called Courts of Love, by which the relationship was defined. 
According to these rules a man must love, not his wife, but a 
lady married to some one else; and his love must be chaste. 
The lover, moreover, as it would seem, must stand in a feudal 
relation to the lady's husband, as subject to ruler, or as son 
to father. 

Now the foregoing conditions imposed by the Courts of 
Love are exactly calculated to simulate the relations of son 
and mother. The lady of the lover must be married, like his 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



336 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

mother; and the lover must be subject to the lady's husband, 
just as he Js subject to his own father. And his love for his 
lady must be chaste, just as his love for his mother must be 
chaste, although the ideal of chastity was not always 
attained. The convention of chivalric love was, first, a 
recc^ition of the existence of a sexual character in the love 
of the son for his mother; and, second, a beUef that the love 
of the son for his mother is the ideal form of love. The ideal 
of chivalric love was expressed, par excellence, by Dante and 
his contemporaries. 

BEATRICE AND BELLA 

In view of the manifold aspects of the cult of the mother 
which may thus be shown to exist in the work of Dante, let 
us now examine the evidence for identifying Beatrice, the 
central female figure of the Divina Commedia, with Bella, 
the mother of Dante. 

There is no lack of expressions in the Divina Commedia 
which indicate, in quite literal terms, the maternal character 
of Beatrice. In her very first appearance to Dante in the 
Terrestrial Paradise Dante says of her, Purg. xxx. 79-80: 

Cos! la madre al figlio par superba, 
Com'ella parve a me. 

And in Par, i. 101-102, Dante speaks of her as looking at him 

con quel sembiante 
Che madre fa sopra figliuol deliro. 

And again in Par. xxii. 4-7, Dante says that Beatrice spoke 

to him 

come madre, che soccorre 
Subito al figliuol pallido ed anelo 
Con la sua voce, che il suol ben disporre. 

In addition to these direct allusions in the Divina Com- 
media to the maternal character of Beatrice, there is con- 
stantly developed, in the presence of Beatrice as if by asso- 
ciation of thought, a flood of maternal im^ery. To refer 



)doyGoO(^lc 



BEATRICE 337 

again to her first appearance in the Terrestrial Paradise, 
Dante says, Purg. xxx. 43-45, that when he saw her, 
Volsimi alia sinistra col rispitto 
Col quale il fantolin corre alia mamma, 
Quando ha paura o quando eglt i afflitto. 

And making straightway an allusion to Vit^il as his 
dolcissimo patre^ he alludes, line 52, to Vantica matre. I leave 
to the reader, however, the further working out of the 
maternal associations which suggest themselves to the mind 
of Dante in the presence of Beatrice, with the assurance that 
they are numerous; and coniine myself at present to showing 
an acrostic by which the maternal character of Beatrice, as I 
think, is definitely proved. The very first words which 
Beatrice addresses to Dante begin Purg. xxx. 73. The four 
terzinc, 73-84, which follow this line and which give the 
words of Beatrice and their remarkable effect on Dante read 
as follows: 

'Guardaci ben: ben sem, ben sem Beatrice: 

Come degnasti d' accedere al montef 

Non sapei tu che qui & I' uom felice'f 
Gli occhi mi cadder giil nel chiaro fonte; 76 

Ma veggendomi in esso, i trassi all' erba, 

Tanta vergogna mi grav6 la fronte. 
Cosl la madre al figlio par superba, 79 

Com' ella parve e me; per che d' amaro 

Sente il sapor della pietate acerba. 
Ella si tacque, e gli Angeli cantaro 82 

Di subito: In U, Domine, speravi; 

Ma oltre pedes meos non passaro. 

On the first lines of the four terzine of this passage consider 
the following marginal letters: 

73 OUA 

76 OLl 

79 COSI LA MADRE A 

82 E 

Read: eguaglia cosi la madre 

The interior sequences in the same passage appear as follows : 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



338 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

73 guardaci ben ben sem Ben sen BEatrlce 

74 cone degnasti d'accedere AL monte 

75 non sapei tu ohe qui e L'uom fELlce 

Read b of the third ieti^yy, al,74; ^^ o{JeHce,']$: sella. 

Read BE of beairice, 73; al, 74; l before aom, 75: bella. 

Note that the two readings form a cross. 

The maternal character of Beatrice is indicated in the Fita 
Nuova and the Dhina Commedia by the intimate association 
which Dante is constantly declaring to exist between Beatrice 
and the Virgin Mary. Dante recalls how she sat ove s'udiano 
parole della Regina della gloria. Vita Nuova, v. 2-3 ; and at her 
death he says that lo Signore della giuslizia chtamd questa 
gentiliisima a gloriare sotto rinsegna di quella reina benedetta 
Maria, lo cui nome fu in grandissima reverenza nelle parole di 
questa Beatrice beaia. — Vita Nuova, xxix. In Inf. ii she is 
mentioned as one of a trinity of blessed ladies of whom the 
other two are Lucia and the Virgin Mary; she comes to the 
rescue of Dante at the bidding of the Virgin Mary; and her 
place in the mystic rose in the Empyrean Heaven is very 
near the place of the Virgin Mary. 

The character of Beatrice, as developed throughout the 
Vita Nuooa, is Virgin-like, divine: "she seemed not the 
daughter of mortal man but of God." In more than the sense 
common to a lever's adoration, she is miraculous: miracolo la 
cui radice i solamente la mirabile Trinitade — Vita Nuooa,XKX 
39-41. From her proceed powerful and excellent influences 
upon all who behold her; she is, indeed, the exemplar of 
womanhood. The words that describe her in Vita Nuooa, xxvi, 
coronata e vestita d'umilti, and, in the sonnet, Benignamenle 
d'umiM vestuta, are like the words in the prayer to the Virgin, 
Par. xxxiii. 2: 

Umile ed alta pjit che creatura. 

In Purg. xxxiii. 4-6, Beatrice is explicitly associated with 
Maria: 

E Beatrice sospirosa e pia 

Quelle ascoltava si fatta, che poco 

Pid alia croce si cambift Maria. 



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BEATRICE 339 

And in lines lo-ia the divinity of Beatrice is clearly implied, 
for she repeats as applying to herself the words of Christ 
to his disciples, words which would be inappropriate on the 
lips of any woman but the divine mother: 

Modicum, et non videbitis me, 
Et iterum ... 
Modicum, et vos videbitis me. 

This association of Beatrice with Mary is in effect an 
identification of the two, as the human mother deified and 
the divine mother. It is analogous to the identification which 
Dante makes of himself with Christ. The identity of Beatrice 
and Mary is borne out by several cryptograms. 

Following are the last ten lines of Par. i, a significant 
position : 

(E si come veder si pu6 cadere 133 

Foco di nube) se r impeto prime ^. ^ 
L' atterra, torto da fatso piacere. yid 

Non dei piil ammirar, se bene estimo, 136 
Lo tuo sallr, se non come d' un rivo 
Se d' alto monte scende giuso ad imo. 

Marayiglia sarebbe in te, se privo 139 

D' impedimento gid d fossi assiso, 
Come a terra quiete in foco vivo.' 

Quinci rivolse Jnver lo cielo tl viso. 142 

Consider the following marginal letters on the last line of 
the canto and on the first lines of the three preceding terzine: 

133 E 

136 NO 

139 M 

143 QUI 

Read: nome qui 

This acrostic seems to be part of a longer acrostic to be 
read on Hnes 121-142: 

La prowidenza che cotanto assetta, 121 

Del 3U0 lume fa il del scmpre quicto, 
Ncl qua] si volge quel ch' na mag^or fretta: 



)doyGoot^lc 



3+0 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Ed ora 11, com' a sito decreto, 124 

Cen porta la virtii di quella corda, 

Che cid che scocca drizza in segno lieto. 
Ver' 6 che, come forma non s' accorda 137 

M<^tc fiatc alia intenzion del!' arte, 

Perch' a risponder la materia 6 sorda. 
Cod da questo corso si diparte 130 

Talor la creatura, ch' ha potere 

Di picgar, cod pinta, in altra parte, 
(E St come veder si pu6 cadere 133 

Foco di nube) sc fimpeto primo 

L' atterra, torto da falso piacere. 
Non dei piil ammirar, se bene estimo, 136 

Lo tuo salir, sc non come d' un rivo 

Se d' alto montc scende giuso ad imo. 
Maraviglia sarebbe in te, se privo 139 

D' impedimento giit ti fossi assiso, 

Come a terra quiete in foco vivo.' 
Quinci rivolse inver lo ciclo il vise. 142 

Consider on the last line of the canto and the first lines of 
the seven preceding terzine the following marginal letters: 



133 
136 



Read: cosi vela home qui 

If the name is veiled here, it may be in maraviglia, line 
139, which is an anagram for vaoli maria. These words may 
be understood to mean that Beatrice, who is speaking in the 
text, is the equivalent of Mary. 

It is worth noting that immediately under Maramglia, on 
the last three lines of the passage, there are the following 
marginal letters: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE J4I 

140 DI 

141 CO 
143 QUI 

Read: Dico qui 

In the passage containing the acrostic nome qui are several 
interior sequences^ as follows: 

133 e si come vedEr si puo cadere 

134 foco di nube se L'impeto primo 

135 I'atterra torto da fALso piacere 

136 non del piu ammlrar se Bene estimo 

137 lo tuo saliR se non come d'un rivo 

138 se d'Alto monte scende giuso ad imo 

139 Maraviglla sarebbe In te se privo 

140 d ' ImpEDinento glu tl fosse assise 

141 come a terRA quiete in foco vivo 

Read thesecondEofpfi^w, 133; Lhthrt impeto, i34;ALof 
fa/so, 135; B oi bene, 136: Bella. 

Read A oifalso, 135; i oi ammirM; 136; k oisalir, 137; a of 
alto, 138; M of maraoig/ia, 139: maria. 

Note that these two sequences key on the word/s/ro, 135. 

Read M of maraviglia, 139; ED of impedimento, 140; ra of 
terrOj I4I:madre. 

Note that the second and third sequences key on the 
initial of AfrordDf^/tji, 139; 

There is another interior sequence which involves the word 
maraoiglia. It appears in Purg. xxviii. 39-43 (see p. 367). 

The maternal character of Beatrice is indicated by the 
constant association of her with the number nine, the nine 
being, in effect, the nine months of pregnancy. According to 
the f^ita NuoDa, a nine is connected with all the principal 
events of her life, and in P^ita Nuooa, xxx, Dante tells why the 
number nine was so "friendly" to her. The chief reason, 
according to Dante, seems to be this: Nine is a miracle, 
because it represents the multiplication of three, the number 
of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, by ilse/f. This 
is surely, in the language of such a symbolist as Dante, to be 
taken as a reference to the way in which the Trinity begot 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



342 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

and conceived, or, in other words, multiplied itself intOy the 
divine man-child Christ. Thus nine, as representing the 
multipHcation of Trinity by itself, represents the miracle by 
which Christ, according to the Apostles' Creed, was con- 
ceived of the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary. The 
nine, therefore, which is so friendly to Beatrice, identifies her 
as a symbol of motherhood, and further identifies her with 
the divine mother, as symbolized both by Mary and by the > 
Holy Ghost. 

A curious confirmation of this identification, by means of 
the number nine, of Beatrice with Mary is to be found in a 
pass^e in the Vita Nuova which has always given trouble to 
the commentators. In order to show the constant association 
of nine with Beatrice Dante wishes to show in the date 
assigned for her death a nine in the day, the month, and the 
year. According to the Christian calendar, Fusanza nostra, 
the nine appears in the year, which was 1290, but not in the 
day and the month, the 8th of June; and Dante is therefore 
obliged, in order to get a day and a month with a nine in 
them, to do what various commentators have considered as 
juggling with other calendars. What he does is to take 
recourse to the calendar of Syria, in which June, the month 
assigned for the death of Beatrice, is the ninth month; and 
to the calendar of Arabia, according to which the eighth of 
June, the day assigned for the death of Beatrice, is the 
ninth. For the discussion of these calendars the reader may 
refer to Moore's essay on "Beatrice." 

Now this "juggling," as it is generally considered to be, 
is juggling, indeed, but juggling with a purpose quite different 
from the purpose usually assigned. Dante is not to be con- 
sidered here as "juggling" with the calendars of Syria and 
Arabia in order to escape from the difficulty of finding nines 
where they do not exist. He is using these calendars to 
indicate that the date of the death of Beatrice must be 
reckoned according to the calendars that would have been 
used for the dates of the Virgin Mary, for the reason that 
Beatrice is to be identified with the Viigin Mary as the 
divine mother. 



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BEATRICE 343 

TTie association of nine with Beatrice was so intimate, 
according to the Vita Nuova, that questa donna fu accom- 
pagnaia dal numero del nove a dare ad intendere, che ella era 
un nove, ctoi un miracolo, la cui radice i solamente la mirabile 

Trinitade Vita Nuovaj xxx. That Beatrice was a nine in fact 

may be shown by a method of computing the numerical value 
of her name. One method of computing the numerical value of 
a name is to add together the numerical values of all the 
letters of the name, and if the sum is more than one integer, 
to add tt^ether in turn the integers of the sum so that the 
final sum appears as a single integer. This integer gives the 
numerical value of the name from which it is obtained. 
The numerical value of a letter corresponds to the number 
of its position in the alphabet. According to the Latin 
alphabet as including the letter k, the numerical values of the 
letters of Beatrice are as follows: 



I 9 
c 3 
E 5 

The sum of these numbers is 63; and the sum of the integers 
of 6;^ — ^which, as I smd, must be added together — is 9, the 
numerical value of Beatrice. 

The fact that the name of Beatrice may be calculated to 
express the number nine, the very number which Dante asso- 
ciates mth her as her symbol, is a coincidence that would 
have appealed to the tdnd of Gnostic interest that produced 
in the Divina Commedia the enigma of the dxv. I am of the 
opinion, therefore, that along with the meaning of the name 
Beatrice, as " She who blesses," the numerical value of the 
name as nine was a determinant for Dante to use the name for 
the central female character of his poem. 

In connection with the numerical value of the name 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



344 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Beatrice, which gives, first, a 63 and, second, a 9, it is inter- 
esting to note that the number of times the name of Beatrice 
is mentioned in the Dicina Commedia is exactly 63; so that 
the numerical value of the name, if computed from the 
number of times it is mentioned, may again be expressed as 9. 
This coincidence is, in my opinion, not an accident; and I feel 
confirmed in my opinion by the fact that there seems to be 
something equally cryptic suggested in the number of times 
the name of Christ is mentioned in the Divina Commedia, 
namely, 39, a number which reduces by the addition of its 
integers first to 12 and then to 3, the number of the Trinity. 
And in view of the fact that, as I have tried to show, Dante 
identifies himself with Christ in the Divina Commedia and 
that the name of Dante, di necessity, is mentioned in the 
Divina Commedia once, the number of times that Christ is 
mentioned may be considered to be 40. The number 40 
reduces to 4, and 4 is the number par excellence for Chiist, 
since he makes, by his divine Incarnation, a four of the 
Trinity. Four as the number of the perfect matt dates at 
least from the sacred tetrad of Pythagoras, a conception 
that finds its echo in Dante's expression: Ben tetragono. 
Par. xvii. 24. 

The 63 which appears in the process of computing the 
numerical value of Beatrice and also in the number of times 
the name is mentioned in the Divina Commedia has also a 
significant appearance in the life of the Virgin Mary. 
According to medieval belief the age of Mary at the time of 
her death was 63.* Since there is no historical foundation for 
assigning this age to Mary, I surest that it was assigned to 
her by the early symbolists for the simple reason that, like 
the name of Beatrice, it can be reduced to the number 9, which 
expresses the function of motherhood. If this suggestion is 
reasonable, it suggests in turn that Beatrice and the divine 
mother, like Dante and the divine son, are to be identified. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 34S 

This same association of the " beloved " as mother with the 
number nine appears in acrostics in Purg. ix. 64-81: 

A zuiGa d' uom che in dubbio si raccerta, 64 

E che muta in conforto sua paura, 

Poi che la veriti gli h discoperta. 
Mi Gambia' io: e come senza cura 67 

Videmi il Duca mio, su per Id baizo 

Si mosse, ed io diretro inver 1' ahura. 
Lettor, tu vedi ben com' io innalzo 70 

La mia materia, e perb con pid arte 

Non tt maravigliar s' io la rmcalzo. 
Noi ci appressammo, ed eravamo in parte, 73 

Che \i, dove pareami prima un rotto 

Pur come un fesso che muro diparte, 
Vidi una porta, e tre gradi di sotto, 76 

Per gire ad essa, di color diversi, 

Ed un portier che ancor non facea motto. 
E come I' occhio piix e pift v' apersi, 79 

Vidil seder sopra il grado soprano, 

Tal nella faccia, ch' io non Io soffersi: 

Consider on the first lines of the first three terzine the 
following mar^nal letters: 

64 A 

67 MICA 

70 L 
Read: l'amica 

Lines 70-73 are a hint to look for concealed meaning. 
Consider on the first lines of the last three terzine the 
following marginal letters: 

73 NO 
76 V 
79 E 
Read: nove 

Note that the number of the canto in which this acrostic 
NOVE appears is nine, and that in this canto nine is developed 
the mother symbolism of Lucia and also the symbolism of 
the porta, line 76, as the entrance to the uterine region. 
Purgatory proper. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



346 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

In Par. iv. 1 1 8, Dante addresses Beatrice in the following 
words: 

O amanza del primo amante, o diva. 

In thus implying that Beatrice as the daughter of God is also 
the amanza of God, Dante must be considered as again 
identifying her with the divine mother Mary, who is referred 
to, Purg. XX. 97-98, as quell'unica sposa dello Spirito Santo. 
This reference to the Spirito Santo, by the way, need not be 
taken as disproving the mother symbolism of the Holy Ghost, 
supported as this symbolism consistently is throughout the 
Divina Commedia. The mother symbolism of the Holy Ghost 
is here disguised, as it is disguised in all orthodox definitions 
of the character of the third person of the Trinity. In the 
foregoing quotation, indeed, the association of the Spirito 
Santo with Mary as wife is rather to be understood as a 
veiled identification of the two. 

Now the character of Beatrice as the amanza of God and 
so as the mother of the divine son is indicated by Dante in 
several cryptc^aphic allusions to her, in which the divine son 
is indicated as in her womb. Let me show first that this 
meaning is contmned in the cryptic allusion which Dante 
makes to Beatrice: per BE e per ICE, Par. vii. 14. 

This allusion to Beatrice by the first and last letters of her 
name is, according to Boccaccio, an indication that she was 
sometimes called Bice, the contracted form of Beatrice. 
And in the rita Nuova it appears that Dante did indeed call 
her Bice. In the sonnet in Vita A'^aofi3,*xxiv,5Dante says: 

lo vidi monna Vanna e monna Bice. 
Now in connection with this use of Bice Dante makes a 
remarkable statement both in the sonnet and in the prose 
discussion of the meeting with Beatrice which the sonnet 
records. In referring, in the sonnet, to the two ladies, monna 
Vanna and monna Bice respectively, Dante says; 

Amor mi disse: Questa % Primavera, 
E quella ha nome Amor, s\ mi somiglia. 

And in the prose comment he explains how Love said to him 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 347 

in his heart that quetla Beatrice chtamerebbe Amore, per 
molta somiglianza eke ha meco. 

What, then, is the resemblance which Beatrice has with 
Love? 

I suggest that the answer to this question is to be found 
in the letters of the name Beatrice which are omitted in 
the form bice. These letters are eatr. 

The cryptographic significance of these letters, as showing 
the resemblance of Beatrice to Love, is to be discovered 
in the fact that, as we have already seen, the letter t is the 
symbol of the cross and so of Christ, or the divine man. A form 
for the Italian word for man is o»i, so that the t of eatr 
may be considered as representing, in the divine form, dm. 
Replace the t, therefore, by its equivalent dm, in the letters 
EATRj and EATR become eaomr, or amore. It appears, then, 
that BEATRICE resembles love by virtue of the fact that 
AMORE is actually spelt, by a cryptographic device, in 
BEATRICE. Beatrice thus equals bice + amore, or 

B — AMORE — ICE. 

The same substitution of om for x is to be made in the 
omitted letters in the allusion to Beatrice as be and ice. 
The letters of Beatrice intervening between be and ice are 
ATR. Substitute cm for the t, and the letters are aomr, or 
AMOR, the Latin form of amore. Amor, or the divine child, 
is thus inside Beatrice, as in her womb. This same idea of " 
Love, as the divine child, in the womb of his mother, has 
already been noted in the words of the prayer to the Virgin 
in the opening lines of Par. xxxiii. In this passage, moreover, ' ' 
Dante shows by a cryptographic device that it is himself ^ 
who is in the womb of the mother, and thus, by the corres- 
pondence between the meaning of the cryptogram and the 
manifest meaning of the text, identifies himself with the 
divine child and his niother with the divine mother. The 
passage. Par. xxxiii. 1-15, reads as follows: 

'Vergine Madre, figlia del tuo Ftglio, 
Umile ed aha pi^ che creatura, 
Termine fisso a' etemo consiglio. 



ir,Goo<^lc 



348 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Tu se' colei che 1' umana natura 4 

Nobilitasti si, che il suo Fattore 

Non ditdegn6 di farsi sua fattura. 
Nel ventre tuo si raccese 1' amore, 7 

Per lo cui caldo nell' etema pace 

Cosl h germinato queito jiore. 
Qui sei a noi meridiana face 10 

Di caritate, e giuso intra i mortali 

Sei di speranza fontana vivace. 
Donna, sei tanto grande e tanto vali, 13 

Che qual vuol grazta ed a tc non ricorre. 

Sua aisianza vuol volar senz' ali. 

Con^der first the following mai^nal letters of the first 
lines of the first three terzine: 



Read: ventke 

This recalls the phrase nel venfre tuo, line 7. For the interior 
sequence in this passage see p. 328. 

Now note the following mar^nal letters on the first lines 
of the five terzine, five being the number of letters in Dante's 
name: 



10 QUI SEI A 
13 D 

Read: quivi sei, dante 

The letter v, line i, has the spelled form vi^ and in this 
form it is here considered. The k, t, and e of dante are 
the same letters used in reading the acrostic ventre, so that 
Dante, as here written, is in the ventre. 

Dante was not unaware, I surmise, that he could also be 
shown to be nel venire by another cryptc^aphic device, 
since Dante's initials reversed, a. d., are contained in the 
word madre,Yia^ t. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 349 

The acrostic: sei quivi, dante, is immediately followed 
by a passage of five terzine which contains an acrostic. The 
passage, Par. xxxiii. 16-30, reads: 

La tua benignity non pur soccorre 16 

A chi domanda, ma molte fiate 

Liberamente al domandar precorre. 
In te misericordia, in te pietate, 19 

In te magnificenza, in te s' aduna 

Quantunauc in creatura h, di bontate. 
Or questi, cne dall' infima lacuna aa 

Deir universe infin qui ha vedute 

Le vite spiritali ad una ad una, 
SuM)Iica a te per grazia di virtute 35 

lanto chc possa con gli occhi levarsi 

Y\ix alto verso 1' ultima salute. 
Ed io, che mai per mio veder non arsi 38 

Piil ch' io fo per lo suo, tutt'i miei pr^hi 

Ti porgo, c prego che non sieno scarsi, 

Consider the initials of the first lines of these five terzine: 



Read: elios 

ELios is, as we have already seen, a designation of God 
which identifies God with the sun. The symbolism of Christ 
in the womb of the divine mother corresponds, in sun sym- 
bolism, to the sun at night in the womb of the earth. That 
the ELIOS here, as the sun god, is to be understood as in this 
nocturnal phase is expressed by the acrostic on the five ter- 
zine immediately following: 

Perchd tu ogni nube gli disleghi 31 

Di sua mortaliti coi prcghi tuoi, 

SI che il sommo piacer gli si dispieghi. 
Ancor ti prcgo, Regina chc puoi 34 

Cid chc tu vuoli, che conservi sani, 

Dope tanto veder, gli afFetti suoi. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



3SO THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Vinca tua guardia i movimend umani: 37 

Vedi Beatrice con (juanti Beat! 

Per li miei preghi ti chiudon Ic mani.' 
Gli occhi da Dio diletti e venerad, 40 

Fissi nell' orator, nc dimostraro 

(^anto i devoti preghi le son grati. 
Indi all' eterno lume si driz2aro, 43 

Net qua] non si de' creder chc s' inii 

Per creatura I' occhio tanto chiaro. 

Consider the following mai^inal letters on the first lines 
of these terzine: 



Read: PERVIGILIA 

The vigil is for the rising of the sun that is enclosed in the 
womb of the night; it corresponds to the vigil for the re- 
surrection of Christ, and, in the allegory of the Divina 
Commedia, to the mystic rebirth of Dante, who has been 
symbolized, in the acrostic on the opening lines of the canto, 
as in the womb of the divine mother. 

The three consecutive acrostics; sei quivi, dante; elios; 
and PERVIGILIA, appear, it is to be noted, on frames of five 
terzine. Their identity of structure and their consonance of 
meaning go far to proving their intentional character. 

In view of the foregoing cryptc^ams which indicate 
Dante as in the womb, let us return now to the considera- 
tion of the cryptographic device: be . . . ice, in connec- 
tion with the thrice repeated word: dille. The passage in 
which the device appears reads as follows. Par. vii. 10-15: 

lo dubitava, e dicea: 'Dille, dille,' 10 

Fra me, 'dille,' diceva, 'alia mia donna 

Che mi disseta con le doici stille'; 
Ma (luella riverenza cHe s'indonna 13 

Di tutto me, pur per be e per ice. 

Mi richinava come I'uom cn'assonna. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 3SI 

The play on the double meanings of the words in this 
passage is extraordinary. I wish to call attention particularly 
to the use of the word indonna, line 13; the punning idea of 
this word as "in lady" suggests the meaning of the crypto- 
gram showing AMOR in Beatrice. Notice, also, the thrice 
repeated DilU, lines 10 and 11. The Hteral meaning of Dille 
is, of course: "Tell her." But the letters dil, as we have 
already seen, are one of the crypt<^aphic guises for the name 
of Dante;so that DiLLE, DILLE, DILLE may be taken to mean: 
"To her, Dante; to her, Dante; to her, Dante." There is 
certainly in this cryptic iteration the suggestion of the act 
by means of which the child enters its mother's womb. 

In the Christian symbolism of the Middle Ages Love 
signifies sometimes, as in the passage just quoted from the 
prayer to the Virgin Mary, the divine son; and sometimes, as 
in the inscription over the gate of Hell, the Holy Ghost. The 
resemblance of Beatrice to Love, which Dante speaks of in 
the Vita Nuova, indicates, therefore, that she resembles Love 
in the sense that she reproduces Love, as the divine child, in 
her womb; and also that she is to be identified with Love as 
the Holy Ghost, the divine mother in the Trinity. 

It is now possible to understand why Dante uses the word 
pur, or "merely," in speaking of 

quella riverenza che s'indonna 
Di tutto me, pur per be e per ice. 

In the form of her name as be and ice Beatrice is repre- 
sented as being as yet without the divine child in her womb. 
Per BE e per ICE, therefore, she is represented as still 
virginal, and accordingly as commanding less reverence than 
in the full form of the name, Beatrice, which represents her 
as having the divine child in her womb and therefore as being 
now the divine mother. 

This interpretation of Bice as the virginal and Beatrice as 
the maternal form of the name is supported by the use which 
Dante makes of the two forms in the Vila Nuooa. The only 
allusion to Beatrice by name in the verse of the Vita Nuova 
that may be supposed to have been written before the time 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



3S2 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

assigned for her death is in the Bice to which we have been 
referring, Fita Nuova, xxiv. After her death she is consist- 
ently called Beatrice. 

The maternal character of Beatrice is expressed sym- 
bolically by her death and consequent ascent to Heaven; 
her death symbolizes the act by which Dante is reunited 
with her, as in incest, and her ascent to Heaven symbolizes 
the act by which Dante is reborn, or borne to God- The form 
Beatrice is therefore applied to her after her death as to 
the mother, whereas the form Bice is applied to her before 
her death as to the virgin who has not yet received the son 
into her womb. 

That the ascent of Beatrice to Paradise is the means by 
which Dante is reborn has already been suggested. In Dante's 
sleep with Beatrice in the Terrestrial Paradise is symbolized 
the sexual union by which Dante, as the son, begets himself 
anew in his own mother in order to be reborn. By this act he 
is to be understood as entering her womb, and it is in 
her womb that Beatrice carries Dante in their ascent to 
Paradise. Paradise and the womb are, as a matter of fact, one 
and the same. There is nothing unusual in this phantasy of 
returning to the womb of the mother as to the ideal state of 
existence; it is common in myth, religion, and dream. For 
the symbolism of Dante's sleep with Beatrice, see pp. 380-7. 

That Dante is indeed to be considered as in the womb of 
Beatrice in his ascent to Paradise is frequently implied by 
double entente. A striking instance of such a double meaning 
is to be seen in the words of Beatrice to Dante, Par. i. 88-89: 

Tu stesso ti fai grosso 
Col falso immaginar. 

These words occur just a few lines before Beatrice, as I have 
already pointed out, is likened to a mother turning toward 
her delirious child Dante. The word grosso has, of course two 
meanings in Italian; it means, first, "dull" or "stupid;" 
and, second, it means "pregnant." The double meaning of the 
whole passage may be developed, therefore, as follows: 
Beatrice and Dante are ascending together to Paradise, and 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 353 

Dante, who imagines that he is still on earth, is confused by 
the novel experiences which the ascent produces. When 
Beatrice, therefore, says in effect to Dante that in his false 
conjecture he is making himself pregnant, she is virtually 
implying that what he is really doing is making her pregnant. 
The passage. Par. i. 88-90, which contains the phrase just 
quoted, is as follows: 

E comincid: Tu stesso ti fai grosso 
Col falso immaginar, si che non vedi 
Ci& che vedresti, ee I' avessj scosso. 

Consider the following marginal letters of these three lines: 



90 c 
Read: Ecco 

The intention of this acrostic may be to call attention to 
the double meaning in the words: tu stesso tifai grosso, 

A similar suggestion of Dante's union with Beatrice will 
appear, I believe, in the first seventy lines of Par. xviii, if the 
reader is alert to the possible double meanings. In this 
passage Cacciaguida, as the ancestor of Dante, is obviously a 
father image, and when it is said of him that 
Gi4 si godeva solo del suo verbo 
Quello specchio beato, 

the word verboy as a word used like Logos for Christ, may well 
be understood to refer not merely to what Cacci^iuida has 
been saying, but also to his Christ-like son. T^e specchto 
beato^ as in the three mirrors in Par. ii, is a father im^e, 
which reinforces the father imagery of Cacciaguida himself. 
In the light of this symbolism of father and son, it is not 
unnatural to think of Beatrice as completing the family 
trinity, and as with child, in view of the possible double 
meaning of her words: 

■o sono 
PresBO a colui ch'ogni torto disgrava. 

Dis^ava, as disburdens, has a possible reference to delivery 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



3S4 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

in childbirth. The idea seems to be adumbrated again in the 
words, lines 65-66: 

bianca donna, quando it volto 
Suo si dtscarchi di vergogna il carco. 

The importance of the passage as containing a double 
meaning seems to be suggested by the cryptograms which it 
contains. The first four terzine of the canto are: 

Gi& St eodeva solo del suo verbo 
QuelTo speccbio beato, ed io eustava 
Lo mio, temprando col dolcc 1' acerbo; 

E quella Donna ch' a Dio mi menava, 4 

Disse: 'Muta pensier, pensa ch' io sono 
Presso a colut ch' ogni torto disgrava.' 

Io mi rivolsi all' amoroso suono 7 

Del mio conforto, e quale io allor vidi 
Negli occhi santi amor, qui 1' abbandono; 

Non perch' io pur del mio parlar diffidi, 10 

Ma per la mente che non pud reddire 
Sopra si tanto, s' altri non la guidi. 

Consider first the following marginal letters of the first 
lines of these four terzine: 



Read: genio 

Genio suggests ingegno, a word which Dante often uses as a 
hint of the presence of a cryptogram. 

In the same passage appears the following interior 
sequence: 

2 quello specchlo bEato ed io gustava 

3 lo mio tempranDo col dolce I'acerbo 

4 e quella doNna ch'a dio mi menava 

5 disse muTA pensier pensa ch'io sono 

Read E of heato, i; d of temprando, 3; first n of Jontta, 4; 

TA of mtdia, 5: DANTE, 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 355 

There is a passage in the Divina Commedia where, as I 
believe, Beatrice is actually named in the open text as Bella, 
the Christian name of Dante's mother. The passage to which 
I refer is to be found in Inf. ii. 52-54, where Virgil is tellng 
Dante how he was persuaded to come to the aid of Dante. 
Virgil says: 

Id era tra color che son sospesi, 
E donna mi chiam6 beata e bella, 
Ta] che di comandare io la richiesi. 

In this, the first allusion to Beatrice in the Divina Commedia, 
it is highly significant that Beatrice is not named as Beatrice 
and that the allusion to her as betUa e hella may be under- 
stood, as far as the structure of the sentence is concerned, as 
actually naming her in a punning use of the proper name 
Bella. 

Consider the interior sequences in the passage that includes 
the foregoing lines: 

50 dirotti perch 'io venni e quEl che intesi 

51 nel priDO punto che Di te mi dolve 

52 io era tra coloR che son sospesi 

53 e donna Hi chiamo BEata e bella 

. 54 tAl che di comandare io La richiesi 
55 lucevan gli occhi suoi piu che LA Stella 

Read E oi quely 50; d of <^i, 51; r oi color, 52; m of mi, 53; 

A oi tal, 54: MADRE. 

Read be oi beata, 53; l of la, 54; la, 55: bella. 

The interior sequences in the rest of this canto repeat the 
idea of mother. TTie following sequences are in lines 68-75: 

68 e con cio ch'e mestleri al sue caMpare 

69 I'aiuta si ch'io ne slA consolata 

70 io son beaTRice che ti faccio andare 

71 vEgno di loco ove tornar disio 

72 amoR mi mosse che mi fa parlare 

73 quanDo saro dinEuizi al signor mio 

74 di te Mi lodero sovente a lui 

75 tacette Allora e poi comincia'io 



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3S6 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Read: M of compare^ 6S; Aofsia, 69; tr oi Beatrice, 70; e of 

Vegno, 71: MATRE. 

Read: E of segno, 71; r oiamor, 72; d oiquando, 73; m of mi, 
74; first A of aliora, 75: madre. 

Note that the two sequences key on the e of vegno, 71. 
Note the initials of the lines of the terzina, 70-72: 

70 I 

71 V 

73 A 

Read: via 

Beatrice is the "way" from one life to another. 

The following interior sequence is in lines 91-94: 

91 Id son fatta Da die sua merce tale 

92 che la vostRa miserla non mi tange 

93 ne fianllA d'esto incendlo non m'Eissale 

94 donna E gentll nel ciel che si compiange 

Read from d of da, 91; r of vostra, 92; ma o( Jiamma, 93; 

E, 94: MADRE, 

The following interior sequences are in lines 101-105: 

101 si mosse e venne al loco Dov'io era 

102 che Hi sedea con I'ANTica rachele 

103 disse beATricE loda di dio vera 

104 che non soccoRri quel che t'amo tanto 

105 che uscio per te dElla volgare schiera 

Read D of doc', 101 ; ant of antica, io2; last e of beatrice, 

103: DANTE. 

This signature begins significantly in dov' to era and ends in 
Beatrice, and the other sequence passes through the same 
word, Beatrice. 

ReadMofini, loi; at of Beatrice, 1 03 ; first r of jof^om, 104; 

E of della, 105: MATRE. 

There is in the Fita Nuova another curious instance of the 
use of Bella which can only be properly understood, I beheve, 



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BEATRICE 357 

as a punning reference to the name of Dante's mother. In 
nta Nuova, xxv, in a highly elaborate discussion of literary 
personification, a discussion, moreover, which immediately 
follows the cryptic use of Bice, Dante cites a number of 
examples of personification in the classical poets. He says: 

'"Inat the poets have thus spoken as has been said, appears 
from Vii^il, who says that Juno, that is, a goddess hostile to 
the Trojans, spoke to jEolus, lord of the winds, here, in the 
first of the ^neid: ^Eole, namque tibi, etc. (,£olus, here to 
thee, etc.); and that this lord replied to her, here: Tuus, 
regina, quid optes, etc, (Thine, O queen, what thou askest, 
etc.)- In this same poet the inanimate thing speaks to the 
animate thing, in the third of the £neid, here: Dardanidce 
duri, etc. (Ye hardy Trojans, etc.). In Lucan the animate 
thing speaks to the inanimate, here: Mu/tum, Roma, tamen 
dehes cioilibus armis (Much dost thou owe, O Rome, to civic 
arms). In Horace a man speaks to his own knowledge as to 
another person; and not only are they the words of Horace, 
but he says them as the interpreter of the good Homer, here, 
in his book on Poetry: Die mihi, Musa, virum, etc. (Tell to 
me. Muse, of the man, etc.). In Ovid, Love speaks as if he 
were a human person, at the beginning of the book of the 
Remedy for Love, here: Bella mihi, video, Mia porantur, ait 
(Wars against me, I see, wars are preparing, he says).* 
■ The use of Bella to which I referred is the Bella, L^tin for 
"wars," in the quotation from Ovid. But before proceeding to 
explain the cryptic use of Bella here, I wish to express my 
opinion that the whole passage is not at all as simple as it 
seems, and that all the quotations are intended to convey a 
double meaning. 

The cryptic character of the passage, indeed, is distinctly 
hinted by Dante in the words immediately following it. 
He says: 

"And by this the matter may now be clear to any one who 
is perplexed in any part of this my little book. 

"And in order that no uncultured person may derive any 
over-boldness herefrom, I say, that the poets do not speak 

* Norton's tranalation. 



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358 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

thus without reason, and that those who rhyme ought not to 
speak thus, unless they have some reason for what they say; 
since it would be a great disgrace to him who should rhyme 
anything under the garb of a figure or of rhetorical coloring, 
if afterward, being asked, he should not be able to denude 
his words of this garb, in such wise that they should have a 
true meaning. And my first friend and I are well acquainted 
with those who rhyme thus foolishly." * 

This concluding paragraph should be taken to heart; it 
expresses as clearly as possible the cryptic character of 
Dante's imagery. It ought to be obvious, indeed, from the 
insistence with which he dweUs on the meaning which the 
imagery covers, that the reader is expressly directed to look 
for a hidden meaning. 

There is another passage In the Ftta Nuova with a some- 
what analogous reference to a hidden meaning; I will quote it 
here, en passant, as an indication of the emphasis with which 
the existence of a hidden meaning is proclaimed by Dante. 
At the close of his comment on the canzone, Donna, ch'auete 
intelUtto d'amore, yUa Nuova, xix, Dante says: 

"I say, indeed, that to make the meaning of this canzone 
more clear it might be needful to employ more minute 
divisions; but nevertheless it will not displease me that he 
who has not wit enough to understand it by means of those 
already made should let it alone; for surely I fear I have 
communicated its meaning to too many even through these 
divisions which have been made, if it should happen that 
many should hear it.* 

Prepared now with a suspicion of the dupUdty of the 
language of the yita Nuooa, let us return to the examples of 
personification which Dante quotes from the classical poets. 
These quotations, intended apparently as examples merely of 
personification, are really intended to illustrate the hidden 
meaning of the yita Nuova. The clues to the hidden meaning 
which they illustrate appear in the unquoted context of the 
passages of which Dante quotes merely the beginnings. As in 
deciphering the cryptic use of Bice and of per BE e per ICE 
* Norton'! translation. 



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BEATRICE 359 

it was necessary to consider the omitted letters, so here it 
will be necessary to consider the omitted words. 

But before considering the passages in their entirety, let 
us examine what they present in the briefer form in which 
they appear in the text of the yUa Nuova. Notice, first, the 
reference to Juno, who, as the wife of Jupiter, is the figure of 
the divine mother. Notice, next, in the quotation from Lucan, 
the Roma^ which, as has been developed earlier, is, first, the 
symbol of the divine mother in the Christian church, and, 
second, a palindrome for Amor, the very word which 
appears in connection with the cryptic use of Bice and per 
Be e per Ice. In connection with the two appearances of the 
divine mother in Juno and Roma the Bella of the quotation 
from Ovid may be taken as at least a hint that Bella is here 
used in a double sense to suggest the name of the mother of 
Dante. That it is a hint indeed, and a very strong hint, 
appears from the fact that in the passage to which Dante 
refers, beginning Dardanidae duri, there appears the 
command; "Seek out your ancient mother." This command 
is uttered by the oracle whom £neas has consulted in 
regard to his future. The pass^e, as in the words of £neas, 
b as follows: 

"Scarcely had I thus said, when suddenly all seemed to 
tremble, both the temple itself, and the laurel of the god; 
the whole mountain quaked around, and the sanctuary being 
exposed to view, the tripod moaned. In humble reverence we 
fall to the ground, and a voice reaches our ears: Ye hardy 
sons of Dardanus, the same land which first produced you 
from your forefather's stock shall receive you in its fertile 
bosom after all your dangers; search out your ancient mother. 
There the family of ^Eneas shall rule over every coast, and 
his children's children, and they who from them shall 
spring."* 

In connection with the command here expressed to "search 

out your ancient mother," this passage distinctly develops 

the idea of rebirth as to be accomplished by a return to the 

fruitful bosom of that mother. The means of rebirth here 

'MnM, lit. Damlaoa'i tranalatiaa. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



36o THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

suggested is thus, as we hare seen it to be elsewhere^ 
incestuous. 

The passage which I have just quoted is the third referred 
to by Dante; the two preceding it prepare for the rebirth 
symbolism with remarkable precision. The first passage to 
which Dante refers reads as follows: 

"j^lus (for the sire of gods and the king of men hath given 
thee power both to smooth the waves, and raise them with 
the wind), a race by me detested sails the Tuscan Sea, trans- 
porting Ilium, and its conquered gods, into Italy. Strike force 
into thy winds, everset and sink the ships; or drive them 
different ways, and strew the ocean with carcasses."* 

It appears from this passage that the dioine mother is 
hostile to the Trojans, who, as human beings, are to be 
considered as her sons; and that in order to wreak her wrath 
on her sons, she appeals to JEolus as representing the power 
of the divine father. There thus appears the family triad of 
father, mother, and son, in which the son is the object of the 
hostility of the father and the mother. This relation is exactly 
appropriate to the son as incestuous in relation to his father 
and his mother as resisting the incestuous act. 

The second of Dante's references, beginning Tuus^ 
regina, quid optes, is the reply of .^)olus to Juno, in which he 
acknowledges the power of the mother as supreme. 

Now the hostility of Juno as the divine mother is offset 
in the /Eneid by the benignity of Venus, who, as the mother 
of ^neas, is to be considered as completing the dual char- 
acter of the divine mother. The symbolism of the dual mother 
is elaborated in the Mneid to a degree that has not, I believe, 
been sufficiently appreciated; Juno and Venus, as represent- 
ing the two aspects of the divine mother of the Trojans, and 
particularly of the mother of jEneas, have their counterparts 
in Crete, as the malignant motherland from which the 
Trojans are expelled and Italy, as the benignant motherland 
into which they are received. Nor is it sufficiently recognized 
that the theme of the Mneid is rebirth involving, in the 
return to the ancient mother, incest. It is on account of 

'^Mcwl, i. Davidaon's translation. 



)dOyGoO(^lc 



BEATRICE 361 

this theme, which is also to be seen in the Homeric Iliad 
and Odyssey, that Dante takes Virgil as his poetic father; 
for Virgil works out the theme of rebirth with a conscious 
elaboration that is exceeded only by Dante himself. The 
analogy between the two poems extends even to the con- 
ception in the ^neid, as in the Dimna Commedia, of the 
infernal regions as the womb. This idea is expressly implied, 
indeed, by the fact that ^neas, in his descent to the infernal 
regions, sees there the shades of his descendants waiting for 
their birth. The two mothers in the Mndd, as in the Dhtna 
Commedia, are to be understood as, first, the mother who 
expels the child as in birth, and, second, the mother who 
receives the child back into her womb as in the act of incest. 

We have now examined the first three of Dante's classical 
instances of personification, and find that they imply, with 
an aptness that can scarcely be considered as accidental, the 
mother symbolism of the Fita Nuova and the Divina Corn- 
media. The fourth of his references is to Lucan, a reference 
which includes the cryptic Roma; the passage is appropriate 
as applied to Dante himself in his imagined ascent to 
Paradise. The passage reads as follows: 

"Still, much does Rome owe to the arms of her citizens, 
since for thy (Nero) sake these events have come to pass. 

"When, thy allotted duties fulfilled, thou shall late repair 
to the stars, the palace of heaven, preferred by thee, shall 
receive thee, the skies rejoicing; whether it please thee to 
wield the sceptre, or whether to ascend the flaming chariot 
of Phoebus, and with thy wandering fire to survey the earth, 
in no way alarmed at the change of the sun; by every 
divinity will it be yielded to thee and to thy free choice will 
nature leave it what god thou shalt wish to be, where to 
establish the sovereignty of the world."* 

Dante's next reference is to a description of "the man"; 
this description is likewise appropriate to himself (appropriate 
both as to his wanderings among "many men and cities" 
and also as to his allegorical method of mingling " feigned 
with true"). The passage in Ars Poelica reads as follows: 

'Pharsaiia, i. Riley's translation, London, 1853. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



362 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

"'Sing for me, my muse, the man who, after the time of 
the destruction of Troy, surveyed the manners and cities of 
many men.' He meditates not to produce smoke from a flash, 
but out of smoke to elicit fire, that he may thence bring forth 
his instances of the marvelous with beauty, such as Anti- 
phates, Scylla, the Cyclops, and Charybdis. Nor does he 
date Diomede's return from Meleager's death, nor trace the 
rise of the Trojan war from Lcda's eggs: he always hastens 
on to the event: and hurries away his reader into the midst 
of interesting circumstances, no otherwise than as if they 
were already known; and what he despairs of, as to receiving 
a polish from his touch, he omits; and in such a manner forms 
his fictions, so intermingles the false with the true, that the 
middle is not inconsistent with the beginning, nor the end 
with the middle."* 

The last of the classical allusions that Dante makes, the 
one in which appears the Bella, is again appropriate to Dante 
'n its description of the war of love, which is expressed indeed 
in the Divttia Commedia as resulting from the symbolized 
ncest. Notice again, in this passage, the reference to the 
mother. The passage in Remedium Amoris reads as follows: 

"The God of Love had read the title and the name of this 
treatise when he said, 'War, I see, war is being meditated 
against me.' Forbear, Cupid, to accuse thy poet of such a 
crime; me, who so oft have borne thy standards with thee 
for my leader. I am no son of Tydeus, wounded by whom, 
thy mother returned into the yielding air with the steeds 
of Mars. Other youths full oft grow cool; I have ever loved; 
and shouldst thou enquire what I am doing even now, I am 
still in love."t 

The last sentence recalls the lines, Purg. xxiv. 52-54, in 
which Dante describes himself: 

lo mi son un che, quando 
Amor mi spira, noto, ed a quel modo 
Che ditta dentro, vo significando. 

*Sinart's translation. 
tRiley'B translation. 



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BEATRICE 363 

The foregoing glance at the sense of the passages cited by 
Dante as examples of personi6cation brings to light such 
astonishing analogies with the hidden meaning of the Fila 
Nuooa and the Divina Commedta as to suggest that the 
ostensible reason for referring to them is only another 
schermo delta veritade. This suspicion is reinforced by the 
hint he gives of a hidden meaning in his discussion, quoted 
above, of the necessity of having a meaning from which the 
imagery may be denuded. The whole discussion, with its 
elaboration of mother symbolism, suggests that the Latin 
Bella may have been intended as a punning reference to the 
name of Dante's mother. The mention of Bella immediately 
after the reference to the man in a passage so aptly describing 
Dante himself makes the conjecture, in my opinion, more 
than probable — more than probable especially in view of the 
fact that the reader, in the suppressed words of the quotation, 
is directed to seek out "the ancient mother." In fact, the 
scholastic elaboration of the passage must seem curiously 
out of place and unmotivated in the general simple air of the 
Fita NuBca unless it may be understood, as Dante himself 
hints, as having some such hidden meaning. 



LIA AND MATELDA 

There is still another instance in the Divina Commedta of 
what I regard as a punning use of Mia for Bella; it occurs in 
Dante's description of the dream in which he sees Lia, Purg. 
xxvii. 97-99: 

Giovane e bella in sogno mi parea 
Donna vedere andar per una landa 
Cogliendo fiori. 

In the form of Lia Dante sees his mother Bella in a dream. But 
Lia is to be understood as one of the two aspects of his mother; 
the other aspect is Rachel, to whom Lia refers. This dream of 
Lia and Rachel is a prophetic dream, in that it foreshadows 
the two maternal figures of Matelda and Beatrice whom 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



364 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Dante is to see, on awakening, in the Terrestrial Paradise. 
Matelda and Beatrice are likewise to be considered, as I shall 
show, as representing the mother as a duality. 

That Lia is indeed a dream form of the mother appears 
from the cryptogram in the passage in which she speaks. For 
this cryptc^ram see page 409. 

Let us now turn to Matelda, who, as is generally recog- 
nized, corresponds in the Terrestrial Paradise to Lia in the 
dream. The maternal character of Matelda is indicated with 
the greatest possible precision. In the first place, the very 
sight of her suggests to Dante a figure in which the word 
madre occurs, Purg. xxviii. 49-51 : 

Tu mi fai rimembrar, dove e qual era 
Proserpina nel tempo che peraette 
La madre lei, ed ella primavera. 

Moreover, Proserpina, whom Matelda here suggests to 
Dante, was the mother goddess of the spring. The maternal 
character is still further indicated by the comparison which 
Dante makes of her with Venus, Fur%, xxviii. 64-66: 

Non credo che splendesse tanto lume 
Sotto le ciglia a Venere traiitta 
Dal figUo.Tuor di tutto suo costume. 

This comparison of Matelda with Venus as the divine 
mother is further remarkable for the fact of the incestuous 
relation indicated as existing between Venus and her son 
Cupid, by whom she is here said to be trafittajuor di tutto suo 
costume. There is only one interpretation to be put upon the 
act of Cupid in wounding his own mother. 

Another, and crucial, indication of the maternal character 
of Matelda is the fact that it is she who bathes Dante in the 
mystic stream. This bathing, like the sacrament of baptism, 
symbolizes birth, the symbol of the immersing waters being 
borrowed from the amniotic fluid in which the child is born. 

There is no lack of cryptt^aphic proof of the maternal 
character of Matelda. Following are the proper names in the 
passage which describes Matelda, Pterg. xxviii. 64-75 '• 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 365 



VEKERE 

ELLESPONTO 

XERSE 

LEANDRO 

SESTO 

ABIDO 



X is not an Italian letter. As a sign of the cross it may 
be considered, as we have already seen, as equivalent to 
the letter t, another sign of the cross. Substitute, accord- 
ingly, T for the initial x of xerse, and consider in all the 
proper names the following initial and contiguous letters: 



ABI 

Read: bella e vista 

Following are the four terzine which include the speech of 
Matelda: 

'Voi siete nuovi, e forse perch' io rido,' 76 
Comincid ella, 'in questo loco eletto 
Air umana natura per sue nido, 

Maravigliando tienvi alcun sospetto; 79 

Ma luce rende tl salmo Dtlectasti, 
Che puote disnebbiar vostro intelletto. 

£ tu che sel dinanzi, e mi pregasti, 82 

Di' s' altro vuoi udir, ch io vcnni presta 
Ad ogni tua question, tanto che basti.' 

'L' acqua,' diss io, 'e il suon della foresta, 85 
Impugna dentro a me novella fede 
Di cos a, ch' io udi' contraria a questa.' 

Consider on the first lines of the four terzine the following 
mai^nal letters: 



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366 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 
76 vol 

79 MAR 
83 E 
85 LA 

Read: velo maria 

The passage which describes Dante's baptism in the mystic 
stream at the hands of Matelda is as follows, Purg. xxxi. 
97-1 11: 

Quando fui presso alia beata riva, 97 

Aspergei me si dotcemente udissi, 

Ch io nol so rimembrar, non ch' io lo scriva. 
La bella Donna nelle braccia aprissi, 100 

Abbracciommi la testa, e mi sommerse, 

Ove convcnnc ch' io 1' acqua inghiottissi; 
Indi mi tolse, e bagnato mi offerse I03 

Dentro alia danza delle q^uattro belle, 

E ciascuna del braccio mi coperse. 
'Noi sem qui ninfe, e nel del gemo stelle; 106 

Pria che Beatrice discendesse al mondo, 

Fummo ordinate a lei per sue ancelle. 
Menrenti agli occhi suoi; ma nel giocondo 109 

Lume ch' % dentro aguzzeranno i tuoi 

Le tre di Ul, che miran pii) profondo.' 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
these five terzine: 

97 QUA 

100 LA BEL 

103 1 

106 NOI S 

109 M 

Read: sella si noma qui 

For the cryptc^ram on the Latin words Asperges me, line 
98, see page 284. 

Following are interior sequences in the lines describing 
the first appearance of Matelda, Purg. xxviii. 3$~43, 48-51 : 



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BEATRICE 367 

39 per Maravlglia tutt'altro pensare 

40 una Donna solatta che si gia 

41 cantAndo ed iscBEllendo flor da flore 

42 ond'ERa plnta tutta la sua via 

43 deh BELLA donna ch'al raggi d'amore 

Read in a vertical line m of maravigiia, 39; d of donna, 40; 
second A of cantando, 41; er or era, 4I; bella, 43: madre 

BELLA. 

Maraviglia, as we have already noted, is an anagram for 

VAOLI MARIA. 

48 tanto ch'lo possa IntenDEr che tu cantl 

49 tu ml fal rlnembRar dove e qual era 

50 proserplnA nel tempo che perdette 

51 la Hadre lei ed ella prlnavera 

Read DE of intender, 48; second r of rimembrar, 49; a of 
proserpina, 50; m of madre, 51 : madre. 

Note that this word begins with the initial of the word 
madre in the text and runs through Proserpina, a recognized 
mother image. 

Various attempts have been made to identify Matelda 
with historic persons bearing the same name. In view of the 
unmistakable mother symbolism of Matelda I regard these 
identifications as beside the mark. I suggest, on the contrary, 
that Dante chose the name Matelda, just as I have tried to 
show that he chose the name Beatrice, for cryptographic 
reasons. The name Matelda is composed of letters derived 
from mater, Bella, and Dante in the following order: 

MAT from MATER 
EL from BELLA 

DA from DANTE 

There appears in the Vita Nuova in association with 
Beatrice a figure which, as I think, corresponds to Matelda. 
This figure is Giovanna, mentioned in the sonnet, Vita 
Nuona, TOay, with Bice: 

lo vidi monna Vanna e monna Bice, 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



368 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

In the prose description of his meeting the two ladies, the 
meeting which is recorded also in the sonnet, Dante says of 
monna Vanna that she/u gi& mollo donna di questo mio primo 
amico. E lo name di questa donna era Giovanna, salvo cht per la 
sua beltadct secondo ch'altrt crede^ imposto Vera name 
PRIMAFERA: e cosl era chiamata. E afpresso lei guardando, 
vidi venire la mirabile Beatrice, ^uesie donne andaro presso dt 
me cosi /'una appresso Vallra^ e parvemi che Amore mi parlasse 
nel core, e dicesse: ^uella prima i nominata Primavera solo per 
questa venula d'oggi; chi to mosst lo impositore del nome a 
chiamarla cos): ' PRIMAFERA^' cioi 'prima verr^,' lo die he 
Beatrice si mostreri dopo I'imaginazione del suofedele. 

There is indicated here an intimate, even mystic, asso- 
ciation of the two ladies, which is best to be explained, it 
seems to me, by understanding them to represent together 
the dual character of the mother. On this hypothesis Gio- 
vanna must correspond to Matelda; and there are, as a 
matter of fact, two verbal coincidences which support the 
hypothesis. In the dream of Lia, who, as is generally recog- 
nized, is the dream form of Matelda, Lia is spoken of as 
giovane e Mia. I have already suggested that bella is a 
punning use for Bella; and I likewise suggest that gtooane is a 
punning reference to the Giovanna of the Fita Nuova. This 
pun is no worse, at any rate, than Dante's own of primavera 
for PRIMA VERRA. The identification thus suggested of 
Giovanna and Matelda is suggested agiun in the words in 
which Dante, addressing Matelda, says that she reminds him 
of Proserpina at the time when Proserpina lost primavera. 
And there is another suggestion in Par. xii. 80, in the words: 
O madre sua veramente Giovanna. 

If my identification of Giovanna with one of the two 
mothers is correct, there remains to explain Dante's state- 
ment that she wasgid molto donna di questa mio primo amico. 
Now the first friend of Dante was Guldo Cavalcanti; but as 
the meaning of nothing in allegory Is ever simple, Dante's 
" first friend," in the temporal sense of the word, may also be 
understood to be his father. That the father is indeed a friend 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 369 

is declared by Dante himself in the Vita Nuopa when he says, 
in connection with the death of the father of Beatrice, that 
" there is no friendship so intimate as that of a good father 
with a good child, and of a good child with a good father." 
With the prima amico^ then, understood as having a double 
reference to Guido Cavalcanti and to Dante's father, there is 
nothing inconsistent in regarding Gioranna, the lady of this 
friend, as representing, under one of the two maternal 
aspects, the mother of Dante. I conclude, therefore, with the 
suggestion that just as in the Divina Commedia the dual 
character of Bella is represented by Beatrice and Matelda, 
it is represented in the Vita Nuova by Beatrice and Giovanna, 
and in the Conoivio by Beatrice and Lucia. 



LA VITA NUOVA 

As I have referred so constantly in the preceding pages to 
the Vita Nuova, I will record here my conviction that the 
Vita Nuova was conceived and written as an integral part of 
the Divina Commedia. There is not a detail of the Vita Nuova 
that is not consistent with the plan of the Divina Commedia; 
the consistency, indeed, is so close that it seems impossible to 
accept the orthodox opinion that the relation of the two 
works is more or less accidental. I have not the space to 
develop here the essential unity of conception which the Vita 
Nuova and the Divina Commedia reveal. For cryptographic 
evidence of this unity see pp. 420-1. I will confine myself at 
present to a brief comment on the first sonnet of the Vita 
Nuova; in this sonnet the complete conception not only of 
the Vita Nuova itself but of the Divina Commedia is expressed 
in parvo. 

The first sonnet of the Vila Nu»va, like the Divina Com- 
media, purports to be the record of a dream; and this dream 
has for Dante, like the prophetic dreams of the Bible and 
again like the Divina Commedia, a hidden meaning. The 
sonnet is addressed to friends of Dante's; it describes the 
dream to them and asks them to interpret it. In none of the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



370 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

responses to the sonnet, however, was the interpretation 
given correctly. Lo verace giudizto del detto sogno, says Dante, 
non fu veduto allora per aUuno^ ma ora i manifeslissimo alii 
piii semplici. How seriously this last statement is to be taken 
may be imagined from Dante's reference, Purg. xvi. 88, to 
Panima semplicetta, eke sa nulla. 

The prose account of the dream is as follows: 
"And thinking of her (Beatrice), a sweet slumber over- 
came me, in which a marvelous vision appeared to me; for 
methought I saw in my chamber a cloud of the color of fire, 
within which I discerned a shape of a Lord of aspect fearful 
to whoso might look upon him; and he seemed to me so joyful 
within himself that a marvelous thing it was; and in his words 
he said many things which I understood not, save a few^ 
among which I understood these: Ego Dominus tuus (I am 
thy Lord). In his arms meseemed to see a person sleeping, 
naked, save that she seemed to me to be wrapped lightly in a 
crimson cloth; whom I, regarding very intently, recognized 
as the lady of the salutation, who had the day before deigned 
to salute me. And in one of his hands it seemed to me he held 
a thing which was all on fire; and it seemed to me that he 
said these words: Fide cor luum (Behold thy heart). And 
when he had remained awhile, it seemed to me that he awoke 
her that slept; and he so far prevailed upon her with his craft 
as to make her eat that thing which was burning in his hand; 
and she ate it timidly. After this it was but a short wtule 
before his joy turned into most bitter lament; and as he wept 
he gathered up this lady in his arms, and with her it seemed 
to me that he went away toward heaven. Whereat I felt such 
great anguish, that my weak slumber could not endure it, 
but was broken, and I awoke." * 

The obvious interpretation of this dream, in the light of the 
subsequent death of Beatrice, is that it was a prophetic 
dream in which the death of Beatrice was foreshadowed. But 
it ought to be equally obvious that this dream is also the 
exact equivalent of the dream of the Divina Commedia^ in 
which Dante imagines himself as being carried to heaven by 
'Norton's translation. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 371 

Beatrice. In the dream of the Vita Nuova the "Lord of aspect 
fearful," or Dominus, is the equivalent of God in the Dioina 
Commedia; the lady in his arms the equivalent of Beatrice; 
and the heart of Dante the equivalent of Dante himself. 
The lady by eating the heart and then being carried to 
Heaven is analogous, in the Divina Commedia, to Beatrice 
carrying Dante to Heaven in her womb. In myth and dream, 
the act of eating is commonly a symbol of the act of impreg- 
nation; this symbolism survives in various stories, as in the 
Bible and in Boccaccio, of impregnation through eating the 
mandrake. 

The obvious analc^es which I have here su^ested be- 
tween the dream of the Vita Nuova and the Divina Corn- 
media are far, however, from giving a complete interpretation 
of the dream. Let us examine, therefore, for further light, the 
provenance of the dramatic situation which the dream in the 
Vita Nuova presents. This situation, as Scherillo has shown 
conclusively, is derived from a popular troubador story of a 
feudal lord who discovers the inndelity of his wife with one of 
his liegemen (Italian, Jedeli; old French, feaux; Provencal 
fiel). In revenge the lord kills the paramour of his wife, cuts 
out his heart, and compels his wife to eat it. Dante can 
hardly be imagined to have been ignorant of this story; 
indeed, he seems to indicate the troubador provenance of his 
dream in his reference, Vita Nuova, iii. 68, to trovaton, and in 
his use oifedeli, line 72, as expressing the relationship of the 
trovaton to their feudal lord. 

Now in appropriating from this gruesome tale of illicit love, 
jealousy, and murder the situation presented in his dream, 
Dante can only be understood as portraying Beatrice as a 
married woman who has been unfaithful to her husband. 
She is portrayed, moreover, as having been unfaithful with 
one of her husband's Jedeli, who must be understood as 
standing, in the feudal system, in a fili<d relation to their 
lord. I have already spoken of the cult of the mother as 
underlying the conventions of chivalric love; the con- 
ventions of chivalric love appear in the present instance, 
where the lover of the married lady stands in a relation 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



372 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

analogous to the filial relation both to her and to her husband. 
This filial relationship is immediately intensified in the dream 
by the fact that the " Lord of aspect fearful " is conceived as 
godlike by the human Dante. Along with the illicit love 
which the dream thus expresses as existing between Dante 
and Beatrice it is further implied, therefore, that this illicit 
love has an incestuous character. Important, moreover, 
to remember in connection with the sin of the two lovers is 
the punishment meted out for it. Since, as I pointed out 
above, the eating of the heart symbolizes the sexual act, the 
punishment, as in all the punishments in the Inferno, is a 
repetition of the sin itself. 

The first dream of the Vita Nuooa, paralleling, as I have 
shown that it does, the dream of the Dtvina Commedia, is to 
be interpreted, therefore, as referring to the existence of 
illicit love between Dante and Beatrice, who is portrayed as 
married to the "Lord of aspect fearful." This "Lord of aspect 
fearful," moreover, is to be understood as a father to Dante, 
for in Vita Nuova, xii, he addresses Dante as "my son." The 
implication, therefore, of the maternal character of Beatrice 
in the dream is not to be avoided. 

Now the essential situation in the dream, as I have thus 
defined it, is the essential situation in the whole of the Vita 
Nuova. The apparent innocence of the tone of the Vita Nuova 
has concealed the fact that it tells a story of incestuous love, 
jealousy, and murder — a story of father and son as rivals for 
the possession of the mother. Beatrice is the mother; the 
father is God, or Love, who desires to have Beatrice with 
him in Heaven; the son is Dante, who desires to have Beatrice 
with him on earth. In these conflicting desires is represented 
the jealousy of the father and the son, a jealousy which 
wreaks its revenge in the death of Beatrice, and, as symbol- 
ized in the eating of Dante's heart, in the death of Dante. 
But the death of Dante must be understood as an ambivalent 
symbol. It symbolizes not only his death but also his entrance 
into the womb of the mother, through whom he thus attains 
his rebirth, or Vita Nuova. 
The situation su^ested in the dream is the identical sttu- 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 373 

ation which was recognized by medieval symbolists in the 
relation of Christ to Mary — an incestuous relation, in so far 
as it expresses the son's return to the source of life, the divine 
mother. It is this reunion and rebirth which is symbolized by 
the death on the cross, by the descent into Hell, and by the 
ascent into Heaven. In the Vita Nuava, therefore, Dante is 
associating himself with Christ, and Beatrice with Mary, 
under the guise of the conventions of chivalric love. 



THE DESCENT OF BEATRICE 

In the light of the maternal character of Beatrice as it thus 
appears in the essential situation of the Vita Nuova, let us 
now examine the essential situation in which she appears in 
Inferno. What, in other words, does the Divina Commedta say 
that Beatrice does to rescue Dante from Hell? 

The words of Beatrice herself in reference to Dante give 
the answer, Purg. xxx. 124-141: 

SI tosto come in suUa soglia fui 124 

Di tnia seconda etade, e mutai vita, 

Quest! si tolse a me, e diessi altrui. 
Quando di came a spirto era salita, 127 

£ bellezza e virtil cresciuta m' era, 

Fu' io a lui men cars e men gradita; 
£ volse i passi suoi per via non vera, 130 

Imagini di ben seguendo false, 

Che nulla p remission rendono intera. 
N£ impetrare ispirazion mi vaUe, 133 

Con le quali ed in sogno ed altrimenti 

Lo rivocai; s} poco a lui ne calse. 
Tanto gill cadde, che tutti argomenti 136 

Alia salute sua eran gi^ corti, 

Fuor che mostrargli le perdute genti. 
Per questo visitai 1' uscio dei morti, 139 

Ed a colui che 1' ha quassil condotto, 

Li preghi miei piangendo furon porti. 

It was not of her own will, however, that Beatrice, as she 
here tells us, visited the portal of the dead; she was moved, 
as we are told in Inf. ii., by the command^ transmitted by 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



374 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Lucia, of the divine mother Mary. She was thus the instru- 
ment of the divine mother; and the maternal significance of 
her act should appear from what we have already discovered 
as to the female symbolism of the gate of Hell. In the gate of 
Hell (or vulva) Beatrice meets the paternal image of Virgil, 
and the meeting of father and mother in such a region results, 
naturally, in the birth, or rebirth, of the filial Dante. But it is 
not on this aspect of the symbolism of the visit of Beatrice to 
the portal of the dead that I wish to dwell at present; I wish, 
instead, to call attention to the striking analogies which may 
be shown to exist between the visit of Beatrice to the portal 
of the dead and certain ancient myths. 

Common to many peoples are myths of the descent of a 
living person to the abode of the dead. These myths may be 
divided into two groups, corresponding to the sex of the 
person supposed to make the descent. Among the men to 
whom the miraculous feat is ascribed are Hercules, Ulysses, 
JEntas, and St. Paul. Many other examples may be cited, 
and it is obvious that there are analogies between these 
descents and the descent of Christ into Hell after the cruci- 
fixion. The myth of the descent of a living man into the abode 
of the dead is referable to the sun myth, according to which 
the sun descends into the earth at evening in order to be 
reborn in the morning. In the last analysis, however, the 
rebirth symbolism, which is a constant feature in all 
variations of the sun myth, symbolizes the rebirth not of the 
sun qua sun, but of the hero, man, as accomplished by 
an act of reunion with the original source of his life. As the 
original source of a man's life is his mother, these myths are 
invariably expressed in terms implying incest. 

In the variation of the myth in which the person supposed 
to make the descent is a woman the symbolism is still the 
symbolism of rebirth; the person to be reborn, however, is 
not the woman who makes the descent, but her son whom she 
descends into the abode of the dead to deliver, or bring to 
life again. The woman who makes the descent is invariably 
the mother. 

An example of the descent of the mother to save her son 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 375 

appears in the myth of the great Babylonian mother goddess 
Istar, who descended into Aralu, or Hades, to bring back to 
life her son Tammuz. Analogous to this story is the Greek 
myth of the descent of the mother goddess Aphrodite to 
redeem Adonis. As indicative of the sex symbolism which 
these myths expressed to those who believed in them, it is 
said that in the temple of the Syriac Aphrodite sexual 
relations with the priestesses representing her were supposed 
to ransom a soul from Hades, just as Adonis had been 
ransomed.* 

Hell, or the abode of the dead in general, is invariably a 
symbol of the mother. Accordingly it is necessary to recognize 
that in the myth of the descent of the mother into Hell, Hell 
and the mother are to be identified; she descends into the 
womb of the earth because the womb, as the source of life, 
is what she herself becomes at the moment of delivering 
her child. 

The descent of the mother into the abode of the dead 
appears also, in a modified form, in the myth of the great 
Egyptian mother goddess Isis. And it is of particular interest 
to note, in this connection, that as a result of the contact of 
the Egyptian myth with early Christianity, Isis became 
identified with the Virgin Mary. 

Now the myth of the descent of the mother into the abode 
of the dead survived — and it is in this survival that the myth 
principally concerns us here — comparatively late into the 
Christian era in the central female figure of the Gnostic 
belief, Sophia, or, according to certain sects, Bardelo. As a 
preeminent feature of a system of belief with which Dante 
was intimately acquainted (the intimacy is evident, indeed, 
in the Gnostic elements in the Divina Commedia that I have 
already pointed out and in many others which I lack space to 
discuss here), the maternal symbolism of the descent of 
Sophia must have been understood by Dante. The fact, there- 
fore, that he reproduces in the myth of Beatrice a similar 
descent must be taken to indicate that he intends for 
Beatrice a similar mother symbolism. 

*See Hastings: Dictionary of ReUpan and Ethics; Descent to Hades. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



376 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

There is, moreover, a feature in Christian belief which 
corresponc^ to the descent of the mother as we have a\Teady 
seen it in primitive myth and in Gnosticism. The feature to 
which I refer is the descent to the earth of the Holy Ghost in 
the form of a dove. In the doctrine of the Holy Ghost as male, 
the descent of the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove is under- 
stood as the male principle through which the Virgin Mary 
conceived her divine child. In the doctrine of the Holy Ghost 
as female, the descent in the form of a dove to Mary must be 
understood as an expression of the identity of the Holy Ghost 
and Mary as the divine mother. 

The descent of the mother has a double meaning in ancient 
and medieval symbolism which I have no space to develop 
here in detail. It means, first, the act of birth: the mother 
descends to deliver her child; and it means, second, the act by 
which the child is conceived: the fall of the mother, as in 
the fall of Eve. The delivery of the child, as symbolized in 
myths of the descent of the mother, and the conception of 
the child, as symbolized in myths of the fallen mother, are 
sometimes represented as evil acts and sometimes as benign. 
The ambivalence of these acts depends upon the imagined 
value of the mother herself, in expelling the child from her 
womb in birth and in receiving her child back into her womb 
in rebirth. The dual character of the mother is expressed in 
the Bible, as was commonly recognized in early Biblical exe- 
gesis, in the contrasting figures of Eve and Mary. 

THE MYSTIC PROCESSION 

There remains to be considered tn connection with the 
interpretation of the character of Beatrice the part that she 
plays in the Mystic Procession, described in the closing 
cantos of Purgatorio. The pageant of the Mystic Procession 
is generally supposed to represent the history of the Church 
terminating with the transference of the PapaJ See to Avignon 
in 1309; and the parallels, indeed, between the pageant and 
the history of the Church lend some plausibility to this 
interpretation. 1 am willing to grant, therefore, that there are 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 377 

allusions to the history of the Church in the dumb-show of 
the pageant. But the deeper symboHsm of the pageant is the 
symbolism of rebirth. 

Let us assume for the moment, however, that the inter- 
pretation of the pageant as simply a representation of the 
history of the Church is correct. To a degree that certainly 
demands further explanation, this history of the Church is 
represented in terms of the sexual Hfe. The harlot and the 
giant embracing in the car and the giant dragging away the 
car with the harlot in it, the closing scene of the pageant, 
make the sex symbolism quite obvious; but this symbolism 
has indeed been present in almost every detail of the pageant. 
It is certainly obvious in the incident of the dragon issuing 
from a hole in the earth between the two wheels of the car 
and piercing the floor of the car with his tail. The car, as the 
symbol of the Church, is the symbol of the divine mother, 
who is thus represented, as in all myths of rebirth, as being 
prostituted. 

Now the reason that the history of the Church, in so far 
as it is represented in the pageant, is represented in terms of 
the sexual life, is simply that the sexual life is the form under 
which all existence may be symbolized. Whatever is is first 
created, and then, by the fact of existing in time, becomes 
what it was not at first. There is first the birth and then the 

"change 
Into something new and strange." 

This change may be expressed, as in the language of the 

E>hilosophers, in the problem of becoming, or, as in the 
anguage of myth and religion, in the theme of rebirth. Thus 
the fundamental distinction between being and becoming is 
dramatized in the sexual life conceived as the means by 
which, first, the birth of the individual and, second, his 
rebirth, or becoming new, may be accomplished. 

Fundamentally, therefore, the Mystic Procession is a 
representation of the history of the universe. If the universe 
may be considered to have a life, the story of its life is the 
story of its origin, or birth, and of its development, or rebirth. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



378 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

And the history of the universe as a whole is identical with 
the history of every part of the universe, whether the part be 
an institution, like the Church, or an individual. In the 
divine drama of the universe which God imagines, there is 
just one plot, the plot of birth and rebirth, a drama in which 
the dramatis personae are three, the paternal principle, the 
maternal principle, and the filial principle. This plot is the 
universal form of life. And therefore, since the life of the 
universe is the same in form as the life of the individual, 
Dante sees in the pageant the representation of his own life, 
which is typical of the life of all mankind. 

I lack the space to treat of the symbolism of the Mystic 
Procession in detail; I will confine myself, therefore, to 
referring to a few of the indications of its symbolism of 
rebirth. The car, as commonly in ancient myth and legend, 
represents the mother, and as Beatrice appears in the car, 
she and the mother are identified. Any such identification of 
contained with container is, indeed, the essence of 
synecdoche. Now it is of the highest importance for the 
symbolism to note that after Beatrice has left the car, the 
harlot appears in it. The harlot is likewise, therefore, to be 
identified with the mother; and Beatrice and the harlot 
together symbolize the mother in her dual aspect. The two 
aspects of the mother, as we have already noted, are, first, 
the receiving of the child into the womb, as in union and 
pregnancy, and, second, the expelling of the child from the 
womb, as in the act of birth. Either aspect appears in myth 
and legend as ambivalent for good or for evil. 

Just as one of the two aspects of the motherhood of 
Beatrice is represented by the harlot, so one of the two aspects 
of motherhood as symbolized by the car is represented by the 
tree to which the griffon draws and attaches the car. 

The griffon represents, as commonly in Christian legend, 
Christ. And in the griffon, since Christ represents hot God 
and mankind, Dante sees the representation of himself in 
one aspect of his dual nature, human and divine. The other 
aspect of the dual nature of Christ, Dante, or mankind, is 
represented by the giant, who, after the disappearance of the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 379 

griffon, drags the car away. As Beatrice was replaced by the 
harlot, the griffon is replaced by the giant; the giant, by thus 
replacing the griffon, is indicated as an aspect of the griffon. 
The giant, accordingly, also represents an aspect of Dante 
himself; and when it is prophesied of the dvx, who is Dante, 
that he shall slay the giant, a partial meaning is that Dante 
shall overcome his own lower nature. The dvx represents the 
reborn or regenerate Dante, just as the giant represents 
Dante unregenerate. 

The pole of the car, by which the griffon is attached to the 
car, is phallic. The phallic symbolism of the pole is plainly 
indicated by the fact that as soon as the pole is united with 
the tree, a recognized mother symbol, the tree, which has 
been leafless, puts forth blossoms. The griffon is, indeed, the 
son who accomplishes his rebirth by the act of incest, since 
incest is the means of returning to the original source of life. 
The griffon is attached to the car, as a mother symbol, in 
birth, and to the tree, as a mother symbol, in rebirth. But the 
griffon, like Christ, is peculiar in possessing his human and 
divine nature together in perfection. He is at once his human 
self and his reborn self. This peculiarity is implied in the 
epithets animal hinato, bijormefiera, doppia fiera. 

Repeating the rebirth symbolism of the details of the pro- 
cession already described is the incident of the two descents 
of the eagle into the car. The eagle is usually interpreted as a 
symbol of the empire, and the descent of the eagle into the 
car as a symbol of the union, in some form or other, of the 
empire and the church. As a matter of fact, the first descent 
of the eagle into the car symbolizes the union of God, or the 
father, with the mother, the union which results in the birth 
of the son. The second descent of the eagle into the car 
symbolizes the union of the son with the mother. The son 
descends in the guise of the father, and, as the result of the 
incestuous union, is reborn. This interpretation of the descent 
of the eagle as rebirth symbolism is confirmed by an ancient 
Hebrew belief to which Frazer refers in his Folk-lore in the 
Old Testament. "Certainly," he says, "the Hebrews seem to 
have thought that eagles renew their youth by moulting their 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



38o THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

feathers." And in a note to this sentence he adds: "Psa]m ciii. 
5, 'Thy youth is renewed like the eagle.* The commentators 
rightly explain the belief in the renewal of the eagle's youth 
by the moulting of its feathers. Compare J. Morgenstern, 
'On Gilgames-Epic, xi, 274-320,* Zeitsckriftfur Assyriologie, 
xxix. (1915) p. 294, 'Baethgen quotes a tradition from Bar 
Hebraeus, that when the ewie grows old he casts oif his 
feathers and clothes himself with new ones. Rashi, com- 
menting on this same verse, is even more specific. He says 
that from year to year the eagle casts off his old wings and 
feathers and puts on new, and thereby renews his youth 
constantly.*" The rebirth symbolism of this myth of the 
eagle recalls the rebirth symbolism of the myth of the 
phoenix, with which, as we have already seen, Dante 
identifies himself. The phoenix rises from its own ashes; the 
e^le from its own feathers. The incestuous son, accomplish- 
ing his rebirth like the phoenix and the eagle, is to be under- 
stood, beneath these veils, as rising from his own semen. 

The analogy between this myth of the rebirth of the ea^le 
and the descent of the eagle in the pageant of the Mystic 
Procession appears in the fact that the eagle is described as 
leaving the car covered with its feathers, whereupon a voice 
from above cries: 

O navicella mia, com' mal sei carca. 

It is the protesting voice of the replaced father. 

It is immediately after the griffon has bound the pole of 
the car to the tree that Dante describes himself as falling 
asleep; and it is in this sleep, as I suggested in an earlier 
chapter, that he must be understood to unite himself with 
Beatrice. This union is not, indeed, expressed in such plain 
terms that it cannot be overlooked. It has been overlooked, 
apparently, for six centuries. But the indications are such 
that, once pointed out, they can scarcely be denied. In order 
to show how Dante indicates his union with Beatrice in the 
description of his sleep, let us revert for a moment to the 
griffon's act of tying the pole of the car to the mystic tree. 
The tree is a mother symbol, so used indeed in the story of the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 381 

Garden of Eden from, which it is here borrowed by Dante. 
And the pole, as I su^ested, is phallic. The union of the 
phallic pole and the maternal tree, which before was leafless, 
results in the tree's putting forth blossoms. The griffon him- 
self makes the symbolism clear in the words which he utters 
as he is about to unite the pole and the tree: 

^ si conserva il seme d'ogni giusto. 
The act that is performed by Dante with Beatrice in his 
sleep is simply an imitation of the act of the gritfon, the 
symbol of Christ. 

Let me now quote the passage in which the sleep of Dante 
is described. In its innuendo, in its implying everything with 
the air of saying nothing at all, this passage, Purg. xxxii. 
61-87, 's one of the subtlest in the Drnna Commedia: 

\o non lo intesi, tA qui non si canta 61 

L' inno che quella gente allor cantaro, 

Ni la nota soffersi tutta quanta. 
S' io potessi ritrar come assonnaro 64 

Gil occhi spietati, udendo dt Siringa, 

Gli occhi a cui piil vegghiar costft si caro; 
Come pittor che con esempio pinga 67 

Disegnerei com' io m' addormentai; 

Ma qualvuol sia che 1' assonnar ben finga. 
Per& trascorro a quando mi svegliai, 70 

E dico ch' un splendor mi squarcift il velo 

Del sonno, ed un chiamar: 'Surgi, che faif 
Quale a veder dei fioretti del melo, 73 

Che del sue porno gli Angeli fa ghiotti, 

£ perpetue nozze (^ nel cielo, 
Pietro e Giovanni e Jacopo condotti 76 

£ vinti ritomaro alia parola, 

Dalla qual furon maggior sonni rotti, 
E videro scemata loro scuola, 79 

Cosl di Mois% come d' Elia, 

Ed al Maestro suo cangiata stola; 
Tal toma' io, e vidi quella pia 82 

Sopra me starsi, che conoucitrice 

Fu de' miei passi lungo il fiume pria; 
£ tutto in dubbio dissi: 'Ov' h Beatrice?' 85 

Ond' ella: 'Vedi lei sotto la fronda 

Nuova sedere in sulla sua radice. 



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382 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

1 wish first to call attention to the manner in which Dante 
says that he would depict how he fell asleep "if he could 
portray how the pitiless eyes sank to slumber while hearing of 
Syrinx." In this allusion Dante is apparently suggesting some 
sort of parallel between the way the "pitiless" eyes sank to 
slumber while hearing of Syrinx and the way his own eyes 
sank to slumber while hearing the hymn alluded to in lines 
61-63. Such, however, is not the case; Dante's eyes cannot 
be likened to pitiless eyes; and the parallel which Dante 
seems to be suggesting is a blind to throw the reader off the 
track of his red meaning. The real meaning, indeed, is to be 
found in following up the allusion to the "pitiless" eyes. 

To understand the allusion to the pitiless eyes that sank to 
slumber while hearing of Syrinx, we must refer to the first 
book of the Metamorphoses of Ovid; the piriless eyes are the 
eyes of Argus, the " all seeing," and the story that Ovid tells 
of them may be summarized as follows. Jupiter had fallen in 
love with lo, and in order to conceal his amour from his 
jealous wife Juno, who had followed him to the spot where 
he was still with the seduced maiden, he changed lo into a 
cow. Juno, who was not completely deceived, demanded the 
cow as a gift from her husband; and Jupiter, still in the hope 
of diverting her suspicions, gave it to her. Juno straightway 
placed the cow under the guard of the hundred-eyed Argus, 
so that Jupiter might not again gain possession of it. As this 
situation was intolerable to the amorous Jupiter, he com- 
manded his son Mercury to kill Argus and steal lo away. 
Mercury accordingly, in the guise of a shepherd, went to 
where Argus was guarding lo, and by playing to him on his 
pipe and telling him the story of Syrinx, caused the hundred 
eyes of Argus at last to close in slumber. As soon as Argus 
was asleep, Mercury cut off his head and thus gained 
possession of the metamorphosed maiden. Juno, however, 
inconsolable at the death of her faithful Argus, transplanted 
his hundred eyes into the tail of her favorite bird, the 
peacock. 

Now it is evident from this story that the way the pitiless 
eyes of Argus sank to sleep can hardly have been cited by 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 383 

Dante as a parallel to the way his own sank to sleep. It is 
true, indeed, that both Argus and Dante sank to sleep in 
hearing music. But beyond the hearing of music the parallel 
ends ; for Dante is a lover and Argus is a guard who keeps the 
lover away from his mistress. The real parallel, therefore, 
which Dante must be considered as suggesting In his allusion 
to the pitiless eyes of Argus is to some Argus-like eyes that 
were guarding Beatrice from himself as her lover. 

But if Dante is referring to some Argus-like eyes that are 
guarding Beatrice and not to his own, where can these Argus- 
like eyes be found? For the answer to this question, let us 
turn to Dante's description of the Mystic Procession as he 
first sees it. What he first sees is candlesticks, Purg. xxix. 50, 
and then twenty-four elders crowned with fleur-de-lys. 
Candlesticks and fleur-de-lys were universally recognized as 
phallic symbols. Immediately after these elders, who are 
singing, Hnes 85-86: 

Benedetta tue 
Nelle figlie d'Adamo, 

comes the triumphal car in which Beatrice is to appear; and 
surrounding the car, as a guard, quattro anitnali. Of these 
animali Dante says, lines 94-96: 

Ognuno era pennuto di sei ali, 

Le penne piene d'occhi; e gli occhi d'Argo, 

Se losser vivi, sarebber cotali. 

Here then, as guarding the triumphal car of Beatrice, the car 
which is the symbol of the divine mother and with which 
Beatrice is to be identified as the divine mother, are expressly 
cited the Argus-like eyes referred to in Dante's description of 
his sleep. And these guardian eyes are expressly described as 
intervening between the mother symbol of the car and the 
phallic symbols of the candlesticks and the fleur-de-lys. 

Accordingly, when Dante says that he would tell how he 
himself fell asleep " if he could portray how the pitiless eyes 
sank to slumber while hearing of Syrinx," he must be under- 
stood to refer to the Argus-like eyes in the wings of the 
guardian animdi. But though he^ cannot say how these eyes 



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384 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

were closed in slumber, he can at least say how they were put 
off their guard, for on waldng he is informed, as he tells us, 
that the animals with the Argus-like eyes had already 
departed. In accomplishing, therefore, what he accomplished 
in his sleep with Beatrice, he had been freed from the jealous 
restraint of the eyes that would have guarded her from him 
just as the eyes of Aigus guarded lo from Jupiter. 

The duplicity of the entire passage in which Dante refers 
to his sleep consists in the fact that he describes it in the very 
words with which he apparently disclaims the ability to 
describe it. But there are still more precise indications of the 
character of his sleep in what he has to say of his waking. 
He is wakened, as he records, Purg. xxxii. 72, by a voice 
crying to him: Surgt, che Jai? In the abruptness of this 
imperative and in the accusatory tone of the chejai? there is 
certainly a suggestion that Dante has been doing something 
in his sleep that has not been completely sanctioned; the 
character of this unsanctioned act Is to be guessed, to say the 
least, from the immediate allusion, Purg. xxxii. 74-75, to the 
melo 
Che del suo porno eli An^eli fa ghiotti 
E perpetue nozze fa nel cielo. 
The eating of the apple, as in the story of the fall of Adam and 
Eve, is unmistakable symbolism for sexual union, and this 
symbolism is made absolutely explicit in the allusion to the 
perpetue nozze. By these allusions to the apple and the nozze 
on awakening and by the incident, immediately before the 
sleep, of the griffon tying the phallic pole to the maternal 
tree, the sleep of Dante is bounded by images of sexual union 
which serve to suggest what happened during the sleep. 
Moreover, there is a wealth of detail in the further descrip- 
tion of what happened after the waking which repeats this 
same symbolism of sexual union. 

There is first the allusion to the Transfiguration of Christ, 
as recorded in Matthew xvii; in this account of the Trans- 
figuration Christ ascends "into a high mountain apart" and 
is there "overshadowed" by "a bright cloud;" "and behold 
a voice out of the cloud, which said. This is my beloved Son, 



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BEATRICE 38s 

in whom I am well pleased." The incident of the Trans- 
figuration had a profound significance for Dante, as may be 
seen in the use which he makes of the incident in the Convivio 
in defining the four meanings of allegory. Just what this 
significance was I infer from the fact that the doud, as well as 
the mountain, was a widely recognized mother symbol.* 
For Christ to have been overshadowed by the bright cloud 
signified for Dante that Christ was enclosed in the womb of 
the cloud as a mother symbol; and the voice from the cloud 
announcing Christ as the beloved son must have been for 
Dante the voice of the Holy Ghost, or mother principle of the 
divine Trinity. In the incident of the Transfiguration, there- 
fore, Christ must be understood, in the language of medieval 
symbolism, to have been reunited with the divine mother. 
This union is, indeed, further implied in the fact that after 
the union Christ was transfigured, or changed, as in rebirth. 
Thus the allusion to the Transfiguration is a further impli- 
cation as to what happened in Dante's sleep. 

For the interpretation of the sleep of Dante as symbolizing 
his union with Beatrice there is the following cryptographic 
confirmation to be found in the first five terzine in which the 
sleep is referred to. This passage begins with line 61 , with the 
allusion to the music during which Dante falls asleep, and 
ends, line 75, with the allusion to the nozze. Consider the 
following marginal letters on the first lines of these terzine: 



64 


s 1 


67 


CO 


70 


p 


73 


QUAL 


1: QUI 


SI COPOLA 



In the continuation of the canto still more images appear 
which confirm the interpretation of the sleep which I suggest. 
Beatrice is discovered 

sotto la fronda 
Nuova sedere in suUa sua radice. 
*See Him, The Sacred Sluine. 



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386 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

The radice is phallic, and the fact that Beatrice is described 
as seated upon the radice suggests that we have here an 
analogy with an ancient Roman marriage custom, referred 
to in the article on "Phallism" in Hastings' Encyclopaedia of 
Riligion and Ethics: "At Roman marriages the bride was 
required to sit upon the image of Priapus (Augustine, de Civ. 
Dei, vii. 24; Lactantius, Div. Inst. 1. 20)." 

Dante also refers to Beatrice as she who m'avea chiuso. 
This declaration that Beatrice had enclosed Dante must 
certainly not be overlooked. She is described, moreover, as 
being surrounded by the nymphs with lights in their hands; 
there seems to be here an allusion to the virgins in the 
parable, Matthew xxv, "which took their lamps, and went 
forth to meet the bridegroom." Thus Beatrice may be under- 
stood to be surrounded by the virgins like a bride. 

It is further significant of the symbolism of Dante's sleep 
that it is after he wakes from it that the character of the 
mystic pageant itself changes from images of innocence to 
images of guilt, as in the fox that leaps into the car, the 
dragon that pierces the car with his tail, the harlot in the car 
embracing the giant. I have already alluded to the accusatory 
tone of the chef at? addressed to Dante, as if what he had done 
in his sleep had not been completely sanctioned. The sense of 
guilt, as implied in these images following the union of Dante 
and Beatrice, is thus like the sense of guilt that followed the 
union, in the same Garden of Eden, of Adam and Eve, a 
union, as the reader will recall, which I have already 
indicated as incestuous. The incestuous union, sanctioned as 
it may be in myth and legend as the means of rebirth, is 
nevertheless consistently treated as guilty, or at least as 
incurring the jealous hostility of the father. The act by which 
mankind is to be reborn, as suggested in the Biblical account, 
is therefore ambivalent; it is good, in that it is the means by 
which man attains the kingdom of God — the mother; and it is 
evil in that it entails a usurpation of the rights of the father. 
The following verses in Genesis may be read in the light of 
this interpretation of incest as the means of rebirth: 

"And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as 



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BEATRICE 387 

one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth 
his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live 
forever : 

"Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden, 
to till the ground from whence he was taken." 

This expulsion of the guilty Adam and Eve is reproduced 
in the mystic pageant of the Divina Commedia by the flight 
of the giant, in whom Dante, as a result of his guilty act, 
now sees himself, together with the puttana, in whom Dante 
now sees Beatrice, the mother with whom the act has been 
consummated. But though the act is evil, in the sense of 
incurring the anger of the father, it is the highest virtue, in 
the sense that it is the means by which Dante is to be reborn 
and so to return to the father. The result of the union is 
accordingly indicated in the prophecy of the dxv; this 
personage, as I have shown, is Dante himself, and as the dxv, 
or himself reborn, Dante is to slay, as Beatrice foretells, 
la fuia 
Con quel gigante che con lei delinque. 
In other words, he is to slay himself, as human and in- 
complete, and his own mother, as human and incomplete, 
in becoming, in her and through her and with her, complete 
and divine. 

THE VARIETY OF MOTHER SYMBOLS 

I have now shown that in her various manifestations in the 
Fita Nuova and the Divina Commedia Beatrice represents 
Bella, the mother of Dante, conceived as an incarnation of 
the divine mother. It is in this ascription of divine mother- 
hood to a human mother that Dante must be understood to 
fulfill the mysterious promise that he makes at the end of the 
Vita Nuova, in what is apparently his earliest allusion to the 
project of the Divina Commedia: 

Appresso a questo sonello apparve a me una mirabU 
visione, nella quale vidi cose, che mifecero proporre di 
non dir fiH di questa benedelta, infino a tanto eke to 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



388 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

non poUsii pi^ degnamenU trattare di lei. E di venire 
a cid io itudio quanta posio, si com' ella sa verace- 
menU. Siccki, se piacere sari di Colui, per cut tulle le 
coie vivona, eke la mia vita per alquanli anni duri, 
spero di dire di lei qtiello eke mat non fu detto 
iTalcuna, 

The mother symbolism of Beatrice is not, however, the 
only mother symboUsm in the Divtna Commedia; as I showed 
in Chapter VII, Earth is a mother symbol, Hell is a mother 
symbol. Purgatory is a mother symbol, Paradise is a mother 
symbol; and a series of other symbols of the mother ts 
developed throughout the entire poem. Thus the universe of 
Dante's experience is a long succession of symbols, which are 
to be understood as incarnations, of the one divine mother 
who exists in God. Among these mother symbols in the 
Divtna Commediay as I have already shown, are the selva 
oscura; the lupa; the moon, with its waxing and waning as in 
pregnancy and dehvery; the sea, with the analogous swelling 
and sinking of its tides; the car in the Mystic Procession; the 
tree in the Terrestrial Paradise; Giovanna, Lia, Rachel, 
Matelda, Lucia; the maggior mile in eke I'acqua si spanda; 
the city of Florence, as the birthplace of the poet; and the 
mystic rose. These are only a few of the mother symbols in 
the Divtna Commedia, in which, indeed, the principal 
experiences through which Dante describes himself as passing 
are expressed in terms of mother symbolism. Let me conclude 
the list, therefore, with a final example that may serve as 
typical of the working of Dante's imagination, dominated as 
it was by his love for his mother and his desire to return to 
her. 

In Inf. xix. 16-21, in describing the holes in which the 
sinners were inserted head first, Dante likens them to the 
openings of the fonts in the Baptistry in Florence, and de- 
scribes how he broke one of these fonts in order to save a 
child who was drowning in it: 

Non mi parean meno ampi n% maggiori, 16 

Che quel che son nel mio bel San Giovanni 
Fatti per loco de* battezzatori; 



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BEATRICE 389 

L' US delli quali, ancor non h molt' anni, 19 

Rupp' io per un che dentro vi annegava: 
E questo sia suggel ch' ogni uomo sganni. 

The last line of the passage quoted is to be noticed par- 
ticularly, for it implies that Dante had been considered guilty 
ofsacril^ein thus breaking one of the sacred containers and 
delivering a child from it. 

Disinterested as the act had been as the only means of 
saving a life, it was nevertheless a guilty act, in that it was a 
violation of a symbol of the divine mother, and so of the 
divine mother herself. The degree to which the baptismal font 
is to be considered as a mother symbol appears from the 
symbolism of baptism as a reenactment of birth; the 
baptismal water in which the child is immersed symbolizes 
the amniotic fluid in which the child is immersed in the 
womb, and the font which holds the water symbolizes the 
womb itself. In view, therefore, of the maternal symbolism of 
the font, Dante's act of breaking it and delivering a child 
from it is only to be understood as a symbolized act of incest ; 
in no other way, indeed, is the guilt from which Dante so 
curiously seeks to exculpate himself to be accounted for. 
This guilt is exactly analogous to the guilt of Uzza, 
as recorded in i Chronicles xiii. 9-10: 

"And when they came unto the threshing floor of Chidon, 
Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen 
stumbled. 

"And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzza, and 
he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there 
he died before God." 

The ark, for the Hebrews, was the supreme symbol of the 
divine mother, and to touch it even to save it was an 
incestuous profanation. That the Baptistry of Florence, like 
the ark of the Hebrews, was considered by Dante as a mother 
symbol, a symbol of the womb which he had no right to open, 
appears from his reference to it, in the words of Cacciaguida, 
as the place where he himself was baptized. 

Through the long series of mother symbols contwned in the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



39° THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Divirta Commedia, a series of mother symbols which are to be 
understood as incarnations of the (Uvine mother, Dante 
makes his journey from Earth to Heaven as by a series of 
births and rebirths. The object of his journey is to return to 
his mother as the source of life in which life may be renewed 
and fulfilled. But the various incarnations of the divine 
mother through which Dante passes are all imperfect; they 
are arranged, indeed, in an ascending scale of perfection, so 
that Dante passes from the less perfect to the more perfect, 
until, in the penultimate stage of his journey, he attains to 
his own human but now transfigured mother Bella in the 
figure of Beatrice. 

Bella as Beatrice is the supreme incarnation of the divine 
mother. But as an incarnation she is not the divine mother 
herself; of the divine reality she is only the most perfect 
appearance; and Dante in passing as he does from Beatrice 
to Mary and thence to God, passes from appearance to 
reality. 

In the return to God with which the vision ends God is to 
be understood as a divine motherhood as well as a divine 
fatherhood; and Dante himself, by the fact of coming home, 
becomes himself the divine son. The home coming that I have 
attempted to describe is described by Dante in Convivio 
XV. 12: 

II sommo desiderio di clascuna cosa, e prima dalla 
Natura dato, h lo ritomare al suo Principio. E 
perocchfe Iddlo h Principio delle nostre anime e 
Fattore di quelle simili a s^, siccom' h scritto: 
'Facciamo I uomo ad immagine e slmiglianza 
nostra'; essa aninia massimamente desidera tomare 
a quello. E siccome peregrino che va per una via per 
la quale mai non fu, che ogni casa che da lungi vede, 
crede che sia I' albergo, e non trovando cid essere, 
dirizza la credenza ail' altra, e cos! di casa in casa 
tanto che all' albergo viene; cosi 1' anima nostra, 
incontanente che nel nuovo e mai non fatto 
cammino di questa vita encra, dirizza gli occhi al 
termine del suo Sommo Bene, e per6 qualunque 
cosa vede, che paia avere in sh alcun bene, crede che 
gia esso. E perchi la sua conoscenza prima & 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



BEATRICE 

imperfetta, per non essere speita ai dottrinata, 
ptcctoli bent le paiono srandi; e perb da quellt 
com i net a prima a desiaerare. Onde vedemo li 
parvoli desiderare massimamente un poino; e poi 
pi& oltre procedendo, desiderare uno uccellino; epoi 
piit oltre, desiderare bello vestitnento; e poi il 
cavallo, e poi una donna: e poi le ricchezze non 
^randi, poi grandi, e poi grandissime. E questo 
incontra percni in nulla di queste cose trova quello 
che va cercando, e credelo trovare pitt oltre. Per 
che vedere si puote che 1' uno desiderabile sta 
dinanzi all' altro a^li occhi della nostra anima per 
modo quasi piramidale, ch& 'I minimo li copre 

Erima tutti, ed k quasi punta dell' ultimo desidera- 
ile, ch' h Dio, quasi base di tutti. 



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DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc 



Chapter IX 
PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 



DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc 



DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc 



Chapter IX 
PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 



WITH the proof that the Divina Commedia is based on 
the symbolism of an anthropomorphic universe, and 
that Beatrice is to be identified with Bella, the mother of 
Dante, conceived as an incarnation of the divine, or uni- 
versal, mother, and that the dxv and the yeltro are to be 
identified with Dante, conceived as an incarnation of the 
divine, or universal, son, I have completed the principal part 
of the task that I set for myself in the present volume. This 
part of the task has been a double one: it has been, first, to 
show the presence of cryptograms in the Divina Commedia, 
and, second, to show the bearing of these cryptograms on the 
meaning of the Divina Commedia. But for an exhaustive 
analysis of the Divina Commedia there remain to be con- 
sidered certain aspects of the cryptography which may prove, 
indeed, to be insoluble, and certain aspects of the meaning 
which lie beyond the scope of the present volume but which 
I wish to define as a program for further research. 



THE LONG ANAGRAMMATIC ACROSTIC 

In concluding my examination of the cryptc^aphy of 
Dante I will show four groups of cryptograms: first, long 
an^rammatic acrostics; second, cryptograms in passages 
not Italian; third, cryptt^rams on groups of proper names; 
and, fourth, acrostics on the first lines of consecutive cantos. 
Examples of the first, second, and third groups have been 
shown in previous chapters. 



1 395] 



,,^lc 



396 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

The long anagrammatic acrostics, which I will now show, 
cannot be proved to be intentional, and they are, I bel eve, 
imperfectly deciphered. But I give these readings, imperfect 
as they are, for the reason that they seem to indicate that 
acrostics of which they are approximate readings were 
actually intended by Dante. Indeed, I am inclined to suspect 
that the Dhina Commedia may possibly contain a continuous 
acrostic extending from the beginning to the end. I have not 
deciphered such an acrostic, and I am unable to do so. But 
I have deciphered long acrostics which seem to be confirmable 
in part as intended by Dante. The impression that I get from 
these long readings, separated as they are from each other 
without any apparent reason for being separated, is that they 
may be fragments of a unit which I am unable to reconstruct. 

The existence of these long anagrammatic acrostics seems 
to be indicated by the repeated appearance of certain acrostic 
words, such as peremas, vel, poema, dante. These words 
appear with such a constancy of repetition as to suggest that 
they should be connected together in some continuous 
reading. The frequent possibility of reading them together 
suggests that some such continuous reading was intended by 
Dante. But in view of the nature of the anagrammatic 
acrostic form I regard the attempt to decipher these long 
acrostics as extremely liable to error. On account, therefore, 
of the liability to error, I have, in the previous chapters, used 
only a few of the long acrostics to support my interpretation 
of the symbolism of the Dioina Commedia. And I wish to 
make it clear that my general thesis does not depend on the 
long readings shown in this chapter. 

The method, however, by which these long anagrammatic 
acrostics are to be deciphered is precisely the same method, 
applied to longer passages of the text, that was used in 
deciphering the short anagrammatic acrostics shown in the 
preceding chapters. In some of the short acrostics, the reader 
will remember, the acrostic letters appear in the text in the 
exact sequence in which they are to be read. An example of 
such a sequence is the nati discovered in the initials of the 
first four terzine o( Inf. i: 



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PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 



But in other of the short acrostics the acrostic letters appear 
in such an order that they have to be rearranged to reveal 
their hidden meaning. An example of an acrostic that requires 
such a transposition of the acrostic letters is the vela pene 
discovered in the mai^nal letters of the first lines of the first 
four terane of Par. i: 



Such a transposition of letters is the essential characteristic 
of the anagram, and I have accordingly called the acrostics 
in which such a transposition of letters is necessary ana^am- 
matte acrostics. All the long acrostics that I have deciphered 
are anagrammatic in the sense defined. 

In order to clarify the relation of the anagrammatic to the 
common form of acrostic, let me define, first, an anagram, 
and, second, an acrostic as generally understood. 

An anagram, according to the New English Dictionary ^ is: 
"i. A transposition of the letters of a word, name, or phrase, 
whereby a new word or phrase is formed." An anagram may 
also be: "2. loosely or fig. A transposition, a mutation." The 
following example of the use of the word as well as an example 
of an anagram is quoted by the New English Dictionary from 
Howell: "This Gustavus (whose anagram is Augustus was 
a great Captain. "Another example, quoted from Hickeringell, 
is: "The true anagram of Jesuita is Sevitia." It is of interest 
to note, as illustrating the motive for using anagrams, that 
the two anagrams given are supposed by their authors to 
express the meaning of the words from which they are formed. 
This understanding of an anagram as expressing the meaning 
of the word from which it is formed appears in the definition 
of "an^ammatisme" in the Rem^s, 1674, of W. Camden. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



398 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

"Anagrammatisme" is there defined as "a dissolution of a 
name truly written into his letters, as his elements, and a new 
connection of it by artificial transposition, without addition, 
subtraction or change of any letter, into different words, 
maldng some perfect sence applyable to the person named." 

According to the Etjcyclopaedia Brittanica, " the construc- 
tion of anagrams is an amusement of great antiquity, its 
invention being ascribed without authority to the Jews, 
probably because the later Hebrew writers, particularly 
the Kabbalists, were fond of it, asserting that 'secret 
mysteries are woven in the numbers of letters.' ... A 
well-known anagram is the change oi Ave Maria, ff-atia plena, 
Dominus tecum mto Virgo serena, pia, munda et immaculaia. 
Among others are the answer to Pilate's question, '^uid est 
Veritas?' — namely, 'Est vir qui adest;' and the transposition 
of 'Horatio Nelson' into ' Honor est a Nilo;' and of 'Florence 
Nightingale* into 'Flit on, cheering angel'. James I's courtiers 
discovered in ' James Stuart ' 'A just master, ' and converted 
'Charles James Stuart' into 'Claimes Arthur's seat.'" 

Let us now examine the meaning of the word acrostic, 
which is derived from the Greek JUpoi, extreme, and vtIxm, 
order, row, line, verse. Acrostic is defined as having two 
principal meanings. According to the first definition, an 
acrostic is a composition, usually in verse, which contains a 
particular kind of cryptogram that is also called an acrostic. 
According to the second definition, the word designates the 
crypt<^am itself. It is in this sense of designating a par- 
ticular kind of cryptogram that I will use the word in the 
following pages. 

In the sense of the word, then, to which I am limiting 
myself, an acrostic is commonly understood as a cryptogram 
which is composed of the initial letters, to be read consecu- 
tively, of the lines of a composition usually in verse. This 
common understanding of an acrostic is inadequate in one 
important particular: the initial letters used in an acrostic 
are not necessarily the initials of lines. They may be the 
initials of any of the divisions of the composition in which the 
acrostic occurs, such as chapters, cantos, stanzas, etc. They 



)doyGoO(^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 399 

may also be the initials of consecutive words. An example of 
an acrostic composed of the initials of the chapters of a work 
is to be found in the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili; the initials 
of the chapters of this anonymous work spell: poliam frater 
FRANCiscus coLUMNA PERAMAViT. This acrostic reveals the 
name of the author of the work in which it appears and the 
name of his mistress. An acrostic comftosed of the initials of 
consecutive words is the 'IX6T2, composed of the initials 
of the words: 'In<rotPt Xptirr^ 6«oti Tl^ 2)ci>r4/>, "Jesus Christ, 
the Son of God, the Savior." 

We shall see, in the course of the chapter, that Dante 
composed acrostics analogous to these two examples. 

Now it is to be noted that in the anagram the precise letters 
and the exact number of letters to be used are indicated by 
the word or phrase which is to undergo the an^rammatic 
transformation. This indication of the letters and of the 
number of letters to be used does not, however, enable the 
decipherer to be certain that the anagram which he finds is 
intended. In the first place, a decipherer may find an anagram 
in a word or phrase where no anagram was intended at all. 
And in the second place, he may find an anagram which is 
different from the intended one. Take, for instance, the word 
ROMA, for which, let us assume, we have been directed to find 
an anagram. There are several anagrams for roma: amor, 
HARO, armo, ramo, and mora; and nothing in the nature of 
the anagram itself will aid us in determining which of these 
variations was intended and which was not. Though the 
letters themselves are indicated, there is no indication as to 
the order in which they are to be rearranged. 

As contrasted with the anagram, therefore, the common 
form of acrostic, which is to be read consecutively on initials, 
indicates the cryptographic letters in their proper order. And 
it would seem, perhaps, that the common form of acrostic 
indicates also just what the cryptographic letters are. Such 
is the case, however, only in those acrostics, as in the 
alphabetical psalms, which begin at the beginning of a 
composition and end at the end of it. For all acrostics that 
extend through less than the entire text, the extent 01 the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



400 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

acrostic, and so the letters that compose it, are indicated 
merely by the spelling which the decipherer is able to discover. 

Now the anagrammatic acrostic, which I find in the Dhine 
Commedia, differs from the common acrostic in two im- 
portant particulars; it is not read consecutively; and, using 
as it does initial and contiguous letters, it is not read 
exclusively on initials. 

So far as I know, such a combination of the acrostic and 
anagrammatic forms is not described in the histories of 
crypt<^raphy. But the fact that the form may not have 
been described by the historians is no evidence that the 
anagrammatic acrostic is not a valid form or that it was 
not used by Dante. Indeed, in regard to the precedents for 
the anagrammatic acrostic, I find them plainly enough in the 
irregular clusters of significant letters which the makers of 
cryptc^rams have frequently placed on the margins of the 
opening lines of their texts. An instance of such an irregular 
letter cluster has already been noted in the first two lines of 
Purgatorio: 



This letter cluster is acrostic in the sense that the letters 
which compose it are all either initials or contiguous to 
initials. And since, as we saw in an earlier chapter, these 
letters may be rearranged to read poema, the cluster is 
anagrammatic. I call this cluster of letters, therefore, an 
anagrammatic acrostic; and the method that I have used in 
deciphering it is identically the method used in deciphering 
the long acrostics to be shown in the following pages. Like 
the anagram and unlike the common acrostic, the anagram- 
matic acrostic does not indicate the order in which the signiB- 
cant letters are to be read. And unlike both the anagram and 
the common acrostic that is coextensive with the comftosition 
in which it appears, the anagrammatic acrostic does not, of 
itself, give an exact indication as to what the significant 
letters are: it indicates by its structure merely the initials 
and an indeterminate number of contiguous letters. 



)doyGoO(^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 401 

But if the anagrammatic acrostic indicates by its structure 
merely the initial letters and an indeterminate number of 
contiguous letters, how can these contiguous letters be 
determined at all? The contiguous letters are many: how, 
then, can the decipherer know which of them to choose? 
Is he not free, by reason of the indeterminate indications of 
the anagrammatic acrostic form, to pick out at fancy the 
letters that spell whatever word or phrase he happens to 
preconceive? And if the acrostic is not necessarily co- 
extensive with the text, is not the decipherer free to fix its 
limits arbitrarily? 

There can be no doubt, in view of the incomplete guidance 
afforded by the anagrammatic acrostic structure, that the 
probability of error in deciphering is great. In deciphering 
anagrams of any kind and in deciphering any acrostic for 
which definite instructions have not been supplied by the 
author to take the initials on an exact number of specified 
lines, the reading, however it may be confirmed, cannot be 
absolutely proved as intentional. 

But the confirmations may be strong, and the decipherer 
is by no means free to wander at will. Though the anagram- 
matic acrostic form fails to Indicate exactly how many letters 
are to be taken or exactly what all of them are, it indicates 
enough of them to guide the decipherer in the right direction. 
Almost invariably, in the long anagrammatic acrostics 
which I shall show in the Divina CommeMa, the letters 
spelling an important word appear in such proximity as to 
suggest the word to any one who has freed himself from the 
convention — which is, after all, merely a convention — of 
reading letters in the usual order from left to right. Let 
me show again the anagrammatic acrostic on the first six 
lines of Purga/ono: 

1 PE 4 E CANT 

2 OMA 5 DO 

3 c 6 E 
Read: poema. ecco dante 

The mat^nal letters which show in the first two lines are 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



402 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

PE and OMA. Though these letters have to be rearranged to 
spell POEMA in the usual order, they can easily be read as 
POEMA in the order in which they occur. To a practised 
decipherer the word is plainly visible. It is a word, moreover, 
which appears frequently in other cryptograms. It makes 
obviously good sense in relation to the Dhina Commedia. 
It is at the beginning of an important unit of text, and, as is 
well known to any student of cryptc^raphy, the beginning of 
a unit of text is a likely place in which to find a cryptogram 
and especially a signature. But poema is not in itself a 
signature. Where is the signature if there be one ? Close at 
hand are the initials of lines 4 and 5, e and d, which suggest 
DANTE, and the rest of the letters of the name appear, also 
close at hand, in the third, fourth, and fifth letters of line 4. 
But this reading, so far, is not satisfactory. C intervenes 
between the letters e and a in line 4, and another c, the initial 
of line 3, intervenes between poema and the broken or inter- 
rupted DANTE. The decipherer of an anagrammatic acrostic 
is not free to skip about among non-contiguous letters or to 
disregard initials. He is restricted and thereby he is guided. 
The two c's must be accounted for: and the presence, in 
contiguous letters, of the means to account for them is an 
indication that the whole reading is intentional; the e and 
the o are in plain sight, and ecco completes the reading on 
the two terzine. 

Thus the process by which the decipherer works is 
systematic. When he finds a collocation of letters that spells 
POEMA and the name of the author of the poem he is inclined 
to believe that the collocation of letters was intentionally 
arranged by the author to spell just those words. The 
probability that the author intended the words thus de- 
ciphered is greater than that he did not intend them. The 
guide, then, for the decipherer, is the existence, in an 
appropriate place, of letters spelling words that show by 
position and meaning a consonance with the text. Following 
the guide, the decipherer chooses the letters spelling the 
consonant words and rejects the remaining letters as 
irrelevant. The chief difficulty in deciphering is to find, as in 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 403 

Ecco in the reading above, the links between the more 
important cryptc^aphic words which seem actually to 
protrude from the text. And it is in this difficulty in particular 
that the decipherer is most likely to be misled by his 
ingenuity or lack of it. The outstanding words are, in most of 
the instances which I will show, plainly indicated. Their 
intention is confirmed by their "high visibility," by the 
correspondence of their meaning to the sense of the text in 
which they are embodied, by the hints which Dante gives 
of a hidden meaning, by the constant recurrence of the same 
letters spelling the same words; that is, by the same indi- 
cations of intention that I enumerated in Chapter I. 

The short anagrammatic acrostics are easier to decipher 
and more convincing than the long anagrammatic acrostics. 
But the long readings shown in this chapter are applications 
to long passagesof precisely the same method that was applied 
to the short passages. In many instances the long readings 
extend through passages of the text in which the short 
readings appear, and the same letters are used to spell either 
the same or different words. Examples of such concurrent 
readings have already been shown in the preceding chapters. 
The passage which we have just examined at the beginning 
of Purgatorio is an especially good example. For together 
with the reading: poema. ecco dante, on the first six 
lines are the two readings: peremas and spem, on the first 
lines of the first four terzine (see pp. 27-8). Far from suggest- 
ing an accidental character in each other, these concurrent 
readings are mutually corroborative, in that they intensify 
the sense. 

Dante's choice of the anagrammatic acrostic form for 
the majority of his cryptograms, both short and long, may 
have been determined, first, by the fact that it allowed him 
greater freedom than an acrostic with the letters in strict 
sequence, and, second, by the fact that, being less easy to 
decipher, it offered surer means of concealment. I do not 
believe that in the construction of his cryptograms Dante 
was primarily interested in having them deciphered. The 
chief philosophic interest of crypt<^ams, is, as I explained in 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



404 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Chapter I, that they express, as latent in a given text, the 
fundamental difference between appearance and reality. 
In the universe in parvo which the Dhina Commedia may well 
be considered to be, the problem of appearance and reality 
had to have a place; it is symbolized, therefore, by the 
relation of the manifest meaning of the text to the crypto- 
grams which it contains. These cryptograms may also have 
been used to give the poem a form derived from the idea 
expressed, just as the form of the universe is derived from the 
ideas of its creator. The difficulty, or even, it may be, the 
impossibility, of deciphering the cryptograms in the text may 
be quite irrelevant to the purpose for which they were 
inserted. But the difficulty, or even the impossibility, of 
deciphering the anagrammatic acrostics in the Diottta 
Commedia in no wise necessarily implies that these anagram- 
matic acrostics do not exist. The evidence for their existence, 
in the repetition of certain cryptt^aphic forms that keep 
emerging from the text, like islands that unite with each 
other at the bottom of a sea, is so clear and so consistent that 
it cannot be controverted. 

As an example of the long anagrammatic acrostic form let 
us examine first the anagrammatic acrostic in the first lines 
of the terzine. Par. xxxiii. 100-145. As I showed in Chapter 
II, page 30, there is an acrostic on the last line of this canto 
and the first lines of the three preceding terzine. This acrostic 
reads: l'amata. The long acrostic will include some of the 
letters used for l'amata; the word l'amata will not, how- 
ever, appear in it. 

Consider the following mat^nal letters on the first lines of 
the first three terzine: 



103 PE 
106 OMAI 

Notice that these letters, minus the ai, spell poema. 

Now consider the following mai^nal letters on the first 
lines of the next two ternne: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 



Notice that these letters spell noma. 
Now consider the following marginal letters on the first 
lines of the remaining terzine: 

IIS N 133 QU 

117 E 136 T 

131 O 139 M 

134 O 143 A 

la? QU I4S ^ 

130 D 

Notice that these letters, minus ququ, spell dante and 
l'ouo. 
Read, then, on all the letters given, banning line 100: 

POEHA NOMA QUI DANTE QUA l'oMO. 

Easy to see in this reading are the salient words: 
POEMA, NOMA, DANTE, and l'omo. The difficulty, to which I 
have referred in discussing in general the salient words that 
appear in the anagrammatic acrostics, is the difficulty of 
connecting these words into the continuous reading which 
they seem to surest. I have solved the difficulty here by the 
use which I have made of the Ququ. But this solution is not 
the only solution possible. For instance, if instead of the 
letters QU of the first word ^uella, on line 127, the letters 
QUEL be taken; and if, instead of the ma of 112, simply the m; 
and if, instead of simply n of the word Nelia on line 115, the 
letters ne; the reading might be considered as: poema noma 

QUI DANTE. QUEL E l'oMO. 

Or a variation on this second reading might be made by 
omitting the l of ^ueiia, line 127, and the e (^Nella, line 1 15: 

POEMA NOMA QUI QUEL OMO DANTE 

These variations illustrate the difficulty of deciphering the 
exact form of the anagrammatic acrostic; but this difficulty, 
however great it may be, in no way invalidates the readings 
as an approximation to the reading actually intended by 
Dante. The words poeua, noma, dahte, and l'omo appear so 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



4o6 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

plainly in the an^ammatic acrostic form, and they so nearly 
group of themselves into a sentence, and this sentence 
expresses so great a relevance to the poem, as auto- 
biographical, that I find it difficult to doubt that Dante 
inlended some approximation to the anagrammatic acrostic 
which I have here shown as actually existing in the text. 

The cryptographic interest of this passage is not yet 
exhausted. For consider the following marginal letters of all 
the lines from line 133 to the end of the canto: 



133 
134 


QU 

PER 


140 
141 


SE 
D 


13s 


PE 


143 


A 


136 


TALE E 


143 


MA 


137 


VE 


144 


SI C 


138 
139 


L I 

MA WON E 


145 


L 



Read: peremas qui vel. dante si cela nel poema 
The sentence: peremas qui vel, is frequently repeated in 
the acrostic readings, as is also the idea that Dante conceals 
himself in the poem. The exact repetition of the first sentence, 
and the repetition of the ideas expressed in both, confirm the 
intention of the acrostic. 

The last ten terzine oilnj. v show a reading on the follow- 
ing marginal letters of their first lines: 



"5 


POI 


130 


PER 


118 


MA 


133 


QU 


121 


E 


136 


L 


124 


MA SE 


139 


M ENT 


137 


NCI LE 


14a 


EC AD 



Read: peremas qvi. mi celo nel poema. dante 
Manifest on lines 1 15-121 is the poema; and the peremas 
on lines 124 and 130 is scarcely di^uised by the intervening 
letters of 127. The dante at the end is unmistakable. 

In Par. viii consider the following marginal letters on the 
first lines of the terzine from line 1 12 to the end of the canto: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 



lis 


V 133 


W 


"5 


136 





ii8 


E 139 


s 


131 


s 143 


E 


124 


per 145 


MA 


127 


L 148 





130 


QUI 




Read: peremas velo. sono qui 




Dante says 


in this reading chat he is 


in the text. But 


where? 






Consider on 
letters: 

146 


. the last three lines the following mar^nal 


TA 




147 


E 




148 


OND 




Read: dante 





The o belongs to the long reading which is given above and 
which the dante signs. The complete reading, therefore, may 
be considered as: peremas velo. sono qui. dante 

Consider the following marginal letters on all the first 
twenty-one lines of Par. x: 



OUA 
CHE 
LO P 
QUAN 

CON TA 
SE 



Read: peremas qui velo. ecco che dante s'e patto qui 

NEL POEMA l'eOUALE CON DIG 

This reading is determined by the salient words. Dante 
appears as a unit on lines 10, 11, and I3. Velo appears on 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



408 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

lines 13 and I4; perehas on lines 15, 16, and 17. The 
l'equale qui appears clearly on the regular ten-Hne frame 
of the first four terzine, thus: 

I QUA 

4 Q" 
7 le 
10 e u 
Read: l'eouale qui 

This refers to Dante's identification of himself with Christy 
the^?/io in line i. For the interior sequence in this passage 
see Chapter III, p^e 88. 

The passage in which the longer reading is found is 
immediately followed by a terzina, Par. x. 22-24, '" which 
the reader is expressly (Erected to the tines preceding: 
Or ti rimao, lettor, sopra il tuo banco 
Dietro pensando a ci6 che si preliba, 
S'«ss«r vuoi lieto assai prima che stanco. 

These words may well be taken as a hint of the crypto- 
graphic character of the passage. An acrostic appears on these 
three lines, thus: 

23 OR 

33 Dl 

34 s 
Read: sordi 

May Dante> in the acrostic on these lines which direct the 
reader to reconsider what he has been reading, have in mind 
the Biblical words: "Having ears, hear ye not?" 

On the first lines of the first five terzine of Purg. xxxii 
consider the following marginal letters: 

I TAN 
4 ED E 

7 <iu 

10 E LA 

13 MA POI C 

Read: poema qui cela dante 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 409 

The letters of dante are clustered on the first two lines, 
the letters of poema on the last two. 
The initials of the first six lines are: T, a, c, e, d, a. 

Read:TACE da 

This corresponds to the meaning of the text. Dan te is look- 
ing so fixedly that every sense but Mght is extinct. 

Consider in Pur^. joaaii the following marginal letters on 
the first lines of all the terzine from line 100 to the end of the 
canto: 

134 E 
137 HA 

130 CO 

133 c 
136 S 1 



Read: pereuas qvi vel. dante si cela con bella ih 

POEMA 

This passage contains two concurrent readings, the acros- 
tics: Pio RiHAsi and puri rii, which have been shown in 
Chapter II, page 29. 

Consider the following mai^nal letters on all the lines of 
the five terzine, Purg. xxvii. 100-114: 

100 SA 108 LEI LO 

101 C 109 E 
I03 LB B 110 CHE 

103 PER PIAC III qVAN 

104 UA M 113 LE TEN 

105 DA 113 E 

106 E 114 V 

107 CO 

Read: peremas qui vel. ecco che dante cela bella in 

POEMA 



103 


E 


106 


QUAN 


109 


LE SET 


113 


DINAN 


"5 


L 


118 


PER 


121 


LA BEL 



DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc 



4IO THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

This acrostic confirms the idea that Lia is a dream form of 
the mother. 

In Par. 'in consider the following marginal letters of the 
first lines of the first twenty-seven terzine: 



7 


MA 


49 


to 


QUALI 


S3 


13 


T 


55 


16 


TALI V 


S8 


19 


S 


61 


33 


E N 


«4 


"S 


N 


6; 


38 


MA 


70 


31 


PER 


73 


34 


E 


76 


37 


BE 


79 



Read: peremas qui vel. dante sigkifica qui come 

BELLA E l'aMATA KEL POEMA 

The reading which I have here deciphered is determined 
in its essential words by the initial letters. Poema, lines 55-64, 
is unmistakable; and the peremas, lines 19-31} disguised 
merely by the intervening n, line 25, is almost equally 
unmistakable. All the letters of dakte except the d occur as 
initials, and the sioifincA is suggested by three initials, 
s, o, and F. 

In the text of the passage in which this acrostic naming 
BELLA appears the adjective bella is twice used. The first 
instance is in the second line. The marginal words of the first 
six lines seem to suggest that betla has a reference to Bella: 

QUEL SOL 
DI BELLA 
PROVANDO 
ED 10 
ME STESSO 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 411 

The sun and ed 10 are both symbols of Dante. In the words: 

QUEL SOL DI BELLA, PROVAKDO EDIO ME STESSO, he may 

accordingly be considered as referring to himself as belonging 

to BELLA. 

The second bella occurs in the line, Par. iii. 48: 
Non mi ti celeri I'esser piil bella. 
These words are so composed as to be capable of expressing 
by double entente: "Being Bella will no longer conceal me 
from thee." 

Words in the text that may be considered as cryptographic 
hints are postilUy line 13, meaning "marginal notes," and 
lenai lo capo, line 6. Capo is a word that suggests a crypto- 
graphic device. 

Inf. zx. 100-114, reads: 

Ed io: 'Maestro, i tuoi ragionamenti 100 

Mi son si certi, e prendon si mia fede, 

Che gli altri mi sarian carboni spenti. 
Ma dimmi della eente che procede, 103 

Se tu ne vedi alcun degno di nota; 

Chi solo a ci6 la mia mente rifiede.' 
Allor mi disse: 'Quel che dalla gota 106 

Porge la barba in sulle spalle brune, 

Fu, quando Grecia fu di maschi vota 
SI che appena rimaser per le cune, 109 

Augure, e diede il punto con Calcanta 

In Aulide a tagliar la prima Tune. 
Euripilo ebbe nome, e cosl il canta 112 

L' alta mia Tragedia in alcun loco: 

Ben lo sai tu, che la sai tutta quanta. 

Consider on the first lines of these five terzine the following 
marginal letters: 

100 ED 

103 H 

106 A 

109 SI 

113 EURl 

Taking the u of euripilo for its equivalent v, read: 

MADRE, VI SEI. 



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412 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

And exactly as this acrostic indicates, the name of Dante's 
mother appears in an acrostic in the same passage. Consider 
the following marginal letters of the three lines of the last 
terzina: 

112 E 

113 L AL 

114 B 
Read: sella 

The terzina immediately preceding the forgoing passage, 
Inf. X3t. 97-99, reads: 

Per& t* assenno, che se tu mai odi 
Onginar la mia terra altrimenti, 
La verit^ nulla menzogna frodi.* 

The mar^al letters of the first line of this terzina and of 
the lirst lines of the next four terzine are: 
97 PER 
100 E 
103 H 
10<i A 

109 S 
Read: peremas 

This passage and neighboring lines contain several words 
that are hints of cryptograms, aupire^ no; name, 112; 
magiche frodey 117. 

The words in the last terzina, 112-113: 

co^ il canta 
L'alta mia Tragedia in alcun loco, 
taken in connection with the acrostics indicating the mother, 
suggest that Dante was aware of the mother symbolism of 
the Mneid, the tragedy to which Virgil is referring in the text. 
That Dante has the same symbolism for his Commedia 
appears from the acrostic on the opening lines of the next 
canto. The first four terzine, InJ. xxi. i— 12, are; 

Cost di ponte in ponte, altro parlando 
Che la mia commedia cantar non cura, 
Venimmo, e tenevamo it colmo, quando 



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PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 413 

Ristemtno per veder I' altra fesaura 4 

Di Malebolge, e gli altri piatiti vani; 

£ vidila mirabiltnente oscura. 
Quale neir ArzanJL de' Viniziam 7 

Bolle 1' invemo la ten ace pece 

A rimpalmar li legni lor non sani, 
Chi navicar non ponno, e in quella vece 10 

Chi fa 8U0 legno nuovo, e cni ristoppa 

Le coste a quel che piil viaggi fece; 

Consider on all the twelve lines of this passage the follow- 
ing mar^al letters: 

I CO 7 QUALE 

3 C 8 BOLLE 

3 VENl 9 A 

4 RIST 10 CHE NA 

5 DI II C 



Read: ecco che dante si rivela qui con bella 

Compare this acrostic containing the name of sella in 
connection with the mention of the Commedia with the 
acrostic containing the name of bella in connection with 
the passage in which Virgil refers to his Tragedia, In/, xx. 1 13. 

In the present passage Dante declares that Virgil and he 
were speaking of things 

Che la mia commedia cantar non cura. 
It may therefore be inferred from the acrostic that the subject 
of their conversation was the relation of Dante with his 
mother Bella. This relation is, indeed, the hidden subject of 
the entire Commedia. 

The following pass^e. Par. xmi. 85-90, consists of two 
terzine: 

O benigna virtft che si gl' imprenti, 85 

Su t esattasd per targirmi loco 

Agli occhi II, che non eran possenti. 
II nome del bel fior ch' 10 sempre invoco 88 

E mane e aera, tutto mi ristrinse 

L' animo ad awisai lo maggior foco. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



41* THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Consider the follomng marginal letters on all the lines of 
these two terzine: 



85 


BE 


86 


SU T 


87 


A 


88 


IL 


89 


E 


90 


L 


Read: bella sei tu 



For the interior sequence in this passage and for the 
significance of // name del belfior see p^e 328. 

The following four terzine, Inf. vi. 6^-^$, comprise the 
prophecy which Ciacco makes about Florence: 

Ed egli a me: 'Dopo lunga tenzone 64 

Verranno al sangue, e la parte selvaggia 
Cacceri I' altra can molta offerisione. 

Poi appresso convien che questa caggia 67 

Infra tre soli, e che I' altra sormonti 
Con la forza di tal che test^ piaggia. 

Aire terri lungo tempo le fronti, 70 

Ten en do I' altra sotto gravi pesi, 
Come che di ci6 pianga, e che ne adonti. 

Giusti son due, ma non vi sono intesi: 73 

Superbia, invidia ed avarizia sono 
Le tre faville che hanno i cori accesi.' 

The reference, line 73, to the "two just ones" is generally 
supposed to be to Dante himself and his friend Guido 
Cavalcanti. No proof, so far as I know, has been given for 
these identifications. There is confirmation, however, in the 
anagrammatic acrostics which the passage contains. 

Observe, first, that the prophetic words of Ciacco begin, 
line 64, after the introductory £^^^/( a me. Let us, therefore, 
consider, as a preliminary, the following marginal letters of 
the first Hne of the prophecy itself, which begins with Dopo 
lunga tenzone, and of the first lines of the remaining terzine in 
which the prophecy appears: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 



64 


DO 


67 


POI 


70 


ALTE 


73 


GIU 


Read: it poeta cuido 



Let us now return to the complete text of the four terzine 
and consider the following marginal letters on their first lines: 
64 ED E 
67 POl A 
70 ALTE 
73 OIUSTI SON DUE MA NO 

Read: IL poeta vi noma essi: guido e dante 

In medieval Italian the letter u was the same as the letter 

V. I have here taken, therefore, the u oidue for its equivalent 

V, and have used it as the equivalent of its spelled form vi. 
The acrostic just deciphered is confirmed by another 

acrostic extending through the remainder of the same canto. 

Consider on the first lines of these terzine, Inf. vi. 76-115, 

the following mai^nal letters: 

76 QUI 97 ci 

79 FA 100 S 

S3 D 103 PER 

85 E 106 ED E 

88 MA 109 TU 

91 GL 113 NOI 

94 E I IIS QUIV 

Read: peremas qui vel. feci qui guido e dante 
Consider on the first lines of the first nine terzine of Par. xi 
the following marginal letters: 

I o I 16 e 



10 QUA 

13 P 
Read: ecco qui poeta 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



4i6 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
the last nine terzine of Inf. xxxiii: 

133 E 148 M 

136 T 151 A 

139 10 154 c 

149 N 157 ED 

145 c 

Read: eccomi DA^^^E 

The following acrostic appears in Dante's description of 
the punishment of the peccator camaliy Inf. v. 34-S4> Con- 
ader the following marginal letters on the first lines of the 
terzine: 



34 


C^UA 


37 


INT 


40 


E 


43 


DI 


46 


E C 


49 


CM 



Read: mi celo qui. dante 

Following are two examples of acrostics reading peremas, 
in which the letters of the word are very plain but in which 
the word non intrudes. It may be that the two words are 
fragments of a longer reading (see p. 410). The first acros- 
tic is in Par. iii. 19-33: 

Subito, ti com' io di lor m' accorsi, 19 

Quelle stimando specchiad sembianti, 

Per veder di cui fosser, gli occhi tord; 
E nulla vidi, e ritorsili avand la 

Dritd nel lume ddla dolcc guida, 

Che sorridendo ardea ne^i occhi sand. 
'Non d maravigliar perch' 10 sonida,' 35 

Mi disse, 'appresso il tuo pueni coto, 

Poi sopra il vero ancor lo pid non fida, 
Ma ti rivolvc, come suole, a vote. 98 

Vere sustanzie son cid die tu vedi> 

Q^i ril^ate per manco di voto. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 417 

Petd parla con esse, ed odi, e credi; 31 

Chd la verace luce che le appa^a 
Da s& not! lascia lor torcer li piedi.' 

Consider on the first lines of these five ter^ne the follow- 
ing marginal letters: 

19 8 
39 E 

35 HON 
38 HA 

31 PER 

Read: pekemas [nok] 

The following passage b Par. xxvi. 4^57: 

Stemilmi tu ancora, cominciando 43 

L' alto preconio, che grida 1' arcano 

Di qui fa^-^ sopra ogni altro bando.' 
Ed ioudi': Tcr intelletto umano, 46 

E per autorititdi a lui concorde, 

De' tuoi amori a Dio ^arda il soprano. 
Ma di' ancor, se tu scnti aitre corde 49 

Urarti verso lui, A che tu suone 

Con quand denti questo amor d morde.' 
Non fit latentc la santa intendonc 53 

Dell' aquila di Ckisto, anzi m' accord 

Dove volea men&r mia professione. 
Perd ricominciiu: 'Tutd qua morsi, 55 

Che posson far lo cor volger a Dio, 

Alia mia caritate son concorsi; 

Consider on the first lines of the five teranc the following 
mai^nal letters: 



S3 MOtf 
SS 'BR 

Read: peremas {non] 

Consider the following marginal letters on all the lines. 
Inf. xxxiii. 139-157: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



4i8 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



139 


I 




149 


A 


140 


c 




150 


E 


141 


E 




IS» 


A 


142 


KE 




153 


D 


143 


L 




153 


P 


144 


NO 




154 


C 


MS 


C 




15s 


T 


146 


N 




156 


I 


147 


CHE 




»57 


E 


148 


MA DIS 








Read: ecco 


CHE DAKTE 


SI INDICA 


NEL 


POEMA 



All the letters of dante appear as Initials. 

Consider the following marginal letters on all the lines of 
the five terzine, Purg. xvi. 37-51 : 

45 E 

46 L 



37 


A 


38 


CHE 


39 


E V 


40 


E SE 



Read: peremas. ecco che poema vela dante 

Consider the following marginal letters on the first lines of 
the first seven terzine of Purg. viii: 



QUAND I 
ELL 



Read: dante f. oui l'eouale 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 419 

The reference of the cryptogram may be to h nuovo pere- 
grin tfamore, line 4, which is exactly what Dante represents 
himself to be throughout the Divina Commedia. For the 
crypt<^am on the Latin phrase: te lucis ante^ see pp. 97-8. 
The seventh terzina, 19-21, is a distinct hint to penetrate 
the veil, and the cryptogram on this terzina is a further 
hint to look for a hidden meaning. Consider on the terzina 
the following marginal letters: 



Consider on the first lines of the next four terzine the 
following marginal letters: 

32 I 

25 E 

28 T 

31 L 

Read: veli 

This repeats the idea of nelo .... sottile, line 20. 

Consider the following marginal letters on the first lines of 
the terzine, Purg. xxx. 118-145: 

118 M 133 NE 

121 A 136 T 

194 SI 139 PER 

127 QU 142 A 

130 E MS D 
Read: peremas qui dante 

Notice how clearly dante appears on the margin of the 
last five lines, interrupted only by the per, 139. 

Consider the following marginal letters on the first lines of 
the terzine. Par. xxix. 100-145: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



134 


Dl 


127 


MA PE 


I30 


« 


■33 


B S 


136 


LA 


■39 





I«l 


V 


■45 


UNO H 



410 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

lOO E 

103 W 

106 SI 

109 N 

119 E 

IIS O 

118 MA TALB 

131 PEK 

Read: peremas q.m velo. dantb si noma nel poeua 
Note that the word poema is spelled on the marginal 

letters, all but one being initials, of four consecutive lines, 

iia-i2i. 

A proof of the close relationship between the Fifa Nuova 
and the Divina Comnudia appears in the fact that the Vita 
Nuooo contains cryptc^rams similar in meaning and identical 
in form to cryptograms found in the Divina Commedia. 

Following are the last five lines of the fourteenth sonnet 
in the Fita Nuova, xxiv. 59-63: 

Venire inverse il loco ik ov' i' era, 
L' una appresso dell' altra meraviglia: 
E b1 come la mente mi ridice, 
Amor mi disse: Questa h Primavera, 
E quella ha nome Amor, ^ mi somiglia. 

Conuder the following marginal letters, of these lines: 

59 V 

60 L 

61 E 

69 AH 

63 E 

Read: velaice 

The line preceding these fire lines beg^ with lo oidi. 

The dghteenth sonnet in the Vita Nuova appears in two 
versions. For reasons that must have been sufficient, Dante 
gives first what he calls the Prttno cominciamento and then 
the final form of the completed sonnet. The Prima comincia- 
mento reads: 



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PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 421 

Era venuta ncUa mente mia 
La gentil donna, che per suo valore 
Fu posta dair altissimo signore 
Nel ciel dell' umiltate, ov* h Maria. 

Consider the follomng margmal letters of these four lines: 



Read: funerale 

The sonnet commemorates the first anniversary of the 
death of Beatrice. 
The Seeondo cominciamento reads: 

Era venuta nella mente mia 

guella donna gentil, cui piange Amore, 
ntro quel punto, che lo suo valore 

Vi trasse a riguardar quel ch' io facta. 
Amor, che nella mente la aentia, 

S* era svegliato nel distrutto core, 

E diceva a' sospiri: Andate fuore; 

Per che ciascun dolente sen parti a. 
Piangendo usciano fuori del mio petto 

Con una voce, che sovente mena 

Le laenme dogUose agli occhi tristi. 
Ma quelli, che n uscian con maggior pena, 

Venien dicendo: O nobile intelfetto, 

Oggi fa r anno che nel del salisti. 

Consider the foUomng marginal letters of all the tines of 
this sonnet: 

E PEK 

QU PIA 



ED O 

Read: pbrehas vi vel. poema cela ^i dante 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



422 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

CONTINUOUS ACROSTICS THROUGH 
ENTIRE CANTOS 

The first of the cantos in which I have deciphered a 
continuous reading from beginning to end is Inf. i. 

On the first lines of the first four terzine appears, as the 
reader will remember, the acrostic nati. Consider now the 
marginal letters of the first lines of the next four terzine : 



i6 



Read: guarda me 

On the first lines of the next six terzine consider now the 
following marginal letters: 



n 


CO 


28 


POI 


31 


E 


34 


EH 


37 


T 


40 


H 


COPIO MENTE 



Read: 

It thus appears that on the first lines of the first fourteen 
terzine of Inj. i there is a consecutive series of acrostics, 
reading: 

NATl. GUARDA ME. COPIO MEKTE 

Now the reader will remember that I showed in Chapter II 
that lines i , 4, 7, and 10, on which the nati appears, may also 
be considered to give dante. The coincidence of the two 
readings on the same tines seem to indicate that dante is to 
be identified with the nati as a typical man. Taking then the 
first acrostic as dante, the complete reading on the first 
fourteen terzine may be considered: 

GUARDA ME, DANTE (nATI). COPIO HENTE 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 423 

The meaning of dante : copio mekte, is profoundly true of 
the symbolism of the Divina Commedio. In saying that he 
"copies mind," Dante is implying an identification of himself 
with Intelligence which is constantly repeated throughout the 
entire poem. In the Christian Trinity the three persons are 
represented respectively, as Dante indicates in the inscription 
over the gate of Hell, Inf. iii, as Power, Intellect, and Love; 
Intellect corresponds to the divine Son. The identification 
which Dante makes of himself with Christ has already been 
indicated, and this identification carries with it, therefore, the 
identification of Dante with Intelligence. This identification 
is indeed expressed by an acrostic shown in Chapter VI, on 
the very lines on which we have just found mekte. 

The DANTE, as identified with mente, appears thus; 

31 ED ECCO QUASI A 
34 E N 



Read: ecco quasi me, dante 

Now on the very lines on which we have found nati. 
guarda me. copio mente, or guakda me, dante. copio 
mente, there appjears another reading. Consider on these 
lines the following marginal letters: 



3» 
34 
37 



Read: mente cogita nel poema 

Consider in the succeeding seven terzine the following 
marginal letters: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



♦24 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



43 


LO 


46 


w 


49 


E 


5" 


QUESTA 


55 


E 


58 


T 


61 


MEN 


Read: LOQUE c^uesta hehte 


Consider the following marginal letters in the succeeding 


fifteen terzine; 


64 


QUAND 1 88 TE 


»? 


Rl 91 A 


70 


K 94 C 


?3 


POETA 97 E 


?6 


HA 100 M 


79 


OR 103 HVE 



85 T 
Read: i^uando poeta maro qui mi riceve, dahte 

Observe on lines 73, 76, and 79 the maro following the 
poeta; maro is the name of Vii^il. For the remarkable 
cryptographic use which Dante makes of maro in this passage 
see pp. 190-3, Observe also that, exactly as jn the final lines of 
ParaJiso already examined, all the letters of dakte appear 
in the initials of the lines. 

Consider now the following marginal letters on the first 
lines of the remaining terzine of the canto: 

109 QUEST 134 c 

112 O 127 IN 

115 OVE 130 ED I 

118 E 133 C 

131 ALL 136 A 

Read: questo ikdica ove e calle 

Thus the continuous anagrammatic acrostic reading on the 
first lines of all the ter2ine of Inf. i appears: 



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PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 425 

MEKTE (eCCO QUASI ME, DAHTE) COOITA HEL POEMA 
(or GUARDA ME, DANTE — NATI — COPIO MEHTE). LOQUE QVESTA 
MENTE QUANDO POETA MARO QUI MI RICEVE, DANTE. QUESTO 
INDICA OVE E CALLE. 

This reading is, in effect, a synopsis of the text of the canto. 

Following is the continuous anagrammatic acrostic on the 
first lines of all the terzine of Purg. xxix. 

Consider first on the first lines of the first twenty-nine 
terune the following marginal letters: 

I CA 46 HA 



B 


49 


A 


5a 


HO 


SS 


NE 


58 


E 


61 


MA PERCHE IL B 


64 


E 


67 


C 


70 


SOT 


73 


M 


76 


D 


79 





82 


OR CON TI 


85 



40 

43 PO 
Read: peremas qui poema. eccomi, dakte aldiohiero. 

SOHO COSI VELATO QUI CON BELLA 

Now consider the following marginal letters on the next 
nine terzine: 

88 P 103 E 

91 SI 106 LO 

94 OGN 109 E 

97 AD 113 TAN 

100 HA 

Read: poema: dante lo signa 

And finally consider the following mar^al letters of the 
first lines of the remaining terzine of the canto: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



426 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



Il8 QU 139 M 

121 T 143 POI 

124 L I4S E 

127 E 148 A 

130 D Ijl E 

133 A 154 F 

Read: poema: dante fello qui 

Notice that the word poema is on the marginal letters, all 
but one being initials, of the first lines of four consecutive 
terzine, 139-I48. 

The complete acrostic in this canto, as thus deciphered, is: 

PEREMAS QUI poema. ECCOMI, DANTE ALDIGHIERO. SONO 
COSI VELATO QUI CON BELLA. POEMA: DANTE LO SIGNA. 
poema: DANTE FELLO QUI. 

In Purg. XXX, on the first lines of all the terzine preceding 
the mention of Dante, line 55, appears a reading particularly 
pertinent to the sense of the text. Consider the following 
marginal letters: 

I QUA 28 CO 

4 E CHE 31 s 



13 QUA 40 T 

16 COT 43 V 

19 T 46 PER DI 

22 1 49 MA 

25 E 52 NE 

Read: peremas qui vel. ecco che dante s'e fatto qui 

On the first lines of the terzine from line 55 to line 78 
consider the following marginal letters: 

55 DANTE 67 TU 

58 QUA 70 RE 

61 1 73 CUA 

64 VI 76 CLI 

Read: dante eguaglia qui virtu 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 427 

Inlaid in this passage are other important cryptograms, 
which I have already shown, referring to the symbolism. 
They are not to be understood, however, as belonging to the 
continuous reading that runs throughout the canto. 

On the first lines of all the remaining tcrzine of the canto 
consider the following marginal letters: 

79 c 115 QUE 



85 


SI COME 




121 


A 


88 


POI 




IZ4 


SI 


91 


C 




127 


QU 


94 


MA 




130 


E 


97 


L 




133 


NE 


100 


E 




136 


T 


103 


V 




139 


PER 


106 


ON 




142 


A 


109 


NO 




145 


DI 


113 


MA 








Read: peremas qui vel. 


ECCO 


COME DANTE SI NOMA QUI 


IN POEMA 











The complete anagrammatic acrostic in this canto, as thus 
deciphered, is : 

PEREMAS Q.UI VEL. ECCO CHE DANTE S'e FATTO QUI. DANTE 
EOUAOLIA QUI VIRTU. PEREMAS QUI VEL. ECCO COME DANTE 
SI NOMA QUI IN POEMA. 



NON-ITALIAN PHRASES 

I have shown in Chapter III several examples of crypto- 
grams on passages not Italian. For the discussion of this form 
of cryptogram see page 95. 1 will show here other examples. 

In Purg. vii. 82, is the Latin phrase: Salve regtna. These 
words may be regarded as an anagram for vel a sicnare. 
This reading is appropriate to the symbolism of the Divina 
Commedia, in which the divine regina veils Bella, the mother 
of Dante. 



DiBtizeSOyGoOt^lc 



428 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

There is nothing to prove, indeed, that Dante intended 
the phrase: salve regina, to be considered as an anagram 
for VEL A siGNARE. But there is plenty of evidence that 
phrases from the Bible and from the literature of the Church 
were commonly considered to contain cryptograms ex- 
pressing the inner meaning of the phrases. An example is 
the well-known anagram which I have quoted from the 
Eneydopaedia Brittanica, the change of Ave Maria, p-aita 
plena, Domirtus tecum into P'trgo jerena, pia, munda et 
immaeulata. It is my belief that Dante considered all, or 
nearly all, the Latin phrases in the Dioina Commedia to be 
transformable, like the foregoing anagram, into readings 
appropriate to his symbolism. The reason for my belief is the 
fact that cryptographic transformations of many of his Latin 
phrases into appropriate readings may actually be shown. 

In Purg. xxvii. 58, is the Latin phrase: Fenite, benedicti 
patris met. Consider in these words the final and contiguous 
letters as follows, changing the Di of benedicti into the letter D, 
of which the letters di are the spelled form: 



VENITE 


E 


BENEDICTI 


NEDCTI 


PATKIS 


ATRIS 


MEI 


EI 


Read: REcm: sei daitte 





In Purg. xxiii. 1 1, is the Latin phrase: Labia mea, Domine. 
These words contain a cryptic reference to Bella, the mother 
of Dante. Consider in these words the following initial and 
contiguous letters: 



LABIA 


LABIA 


MEA 


MEA 


DOMINE 


DOMI 



Read: odami, mia bela 

Bela as a kind of sella may be suggested in the words: 
per modoy which immediately follow Labia mea, Domine. The 
ODA of the deciphered reading is echoed in the words of 
Dante, line 13: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 429 

O dolce Padre, che i quel ch'i 'odo i 

That Dante intended to suggest that he heard sella in the 
Latin Laiia mea, Domine, is indicated in the acrostic on the 
three lines of the terzina in which the Latin phrase appears: 
to E 

tl LABI 
19 TAL C 

Read: taci bella 

As we have already seen, taci may be read cita; both 
make sense and it is difficult to choose between them. 

The Latin word ^ue appears apart from a Latin context in 
Purg. X. 40, and Par. xvi. 34, and with Maria in Par. iii. 121. 
This word was recognized early in the Middle Ages as a 
palindrome for eva. The palindrome thus associates the 
divine mother Mary, as the woman to whom the yfve was 
uttered, with the fallen mother Eve. This association of the 
two mothers in an identical form is fundamental in the 
symbolism of the Dtvitia Commedia. 

In Purg. x.> line 44, appears the Latin Ecce ancilla Dei. 
These words yield a signature in which the t is missing. 

ECCE B 

ancilla an 

DEI D 

Read: dane 

The T is suggested by the reference which the Latin words, 
used in the Annunciation, have to Christ. The symbol of 
Christ is the cross, and the cross, as has already appeared in 
several cryptograms, is to be considered as represented by the 
letter t. A hint of the silent t, as the image of the cross of 
Christ, may be taken from the words, line ^<), imagine che 
tace. By supplying, then, the imagine che tace, the complete 
reading is: dante. 

In Par. xxiii. 128, is the Latin phrase: iZf^'no coeli. Consider 
in these words the initial and marginal letters as follows: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



«o THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

REOINA R 

COELI COEL 

Read: celor, Latin for "I am concealed." 

The Latin words Regina coeli are from an antiphone sung 
in the office of the Virgin. The association of celor with a 
hymn to the Virgin has a bearing on the fundamental symbol- 
ism of the Divina Commedia. Dante, as we have seen> 
portrays himself at the culmination of his mystical journey, 
as concealed in the womb of the divine mother. 

In Par. xx. 94, appears the Latin Regnum coelorum. These 
words may be considered as yielding the same acrostic: 

CELOR. 

The acrostic on both Regina coeli and Regnum coelorum 
may also be considered as cor. The Regnum coelorum as cor 
recalls the Biblical: "The kingdom of God is within you," 
Luke xvii. 21. The symbolism of the kingdom of God as the 
heart or as within the body is fundamental in the Divina 
Commedia. 

In Par. xxix, line 12, arc two Latin words, ubi and quando; 
and three lines later, line 15, is the Latin suhsislo. These 
three Latin words, taken tt^ether, yield a signature. Con- 
sider in these thfee words the following terminal and con< 
tiguous letters: 

UBI BI 

QUAKDO ANDO 

SUBSISTO TO 

Read: bioo. dant 

Bioo is the Greek Bifio, "I exist" or "I live;" it echoes 
the sense of Dante's Latin subsisto. 

In the first twelve lines ofPurg. xxxiii are three expressions 
in Latin: Deus, venerunt gentes, line l; Modicum, et nan 
videbitis me, Et iterum, lines lo-ii; and Modicum, et vos 
videbitis me, line 12. A determinant in the choice of these 
expressions is the meaning which they may be considered as 
conveying in the anagrammatic acrostic to be found on the 
initial and contiguous letters of all the words involved. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 431 

A hint for the method of deciphering these words as a 
cryptogram may be taken from the words, lines i and 2: 
altcrnando 
Or tre or quattro. 

Let us arrange the Latin words, therefore, in alternating 
groups of three and four. As there are fifteen Latin words in 
all, the last word, me, will fall outside the last group of four. 
The first group, then, which is of the first three words, 
comprises Deus, venerunt gentes. Consider in these words the 
following initial and contiguous letters: 

DEUS DE 

VENERUNT VENERUNT 
GENTES GENTES 

In the letters selected above the v is to be taken as its 
equivalent vi, the spelled form of v. The un of venerunt 
spells H», or one; as a one, therefore, it may be taken as its 
cabalistic equivalent a. 

The selected letters may accordingly be transposed thus: 

OE DE 

VENERUNT VI ENER A T 
GENTES GENTES 

Read: vi segnerete dante 

The second group, which is of the succeeding /oar words, 
comprises Modicum, et non videbitis. Consider in these words 
the following initial and contiguous letters: 



non no 

videbitis vide 

Read: VEDI NOME 

The name which the reader is thus directed to see is the 
name in vi segnerete dante. But notice that by the 
omission of the e of vide the initial and contiguous letters of 
the words of this group may be read: nome vid. V has the 
value of five; i the value of one; and d the value of five 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



43* THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

hundred. By omtttuw^the zeroes, there thus appears the 
cryptic number 515. Thus the reading vedi home may be 
converted into home: 515. 

The third and fourth groups, of three and Jour words 
respectively, comprise respectively me^ et iterum and modi- 
cum, et vol videbitis. Consider in these words the following 
initial and contiguous tetters: 

{Third groupy (^ three words) 





ITERUM 


IT 


Read: 


; METTI 




{Fourth ixoup, of Jour 


voordi) 




MODICUM 


M 




E 


E 




VOS 


V 




VIDEBITIS 


TI 


Read: 


; ME Wl 





The two last readings taken together are thus: metti ue 
wi. V has the value of five; i the value of one. Thus the 
cryptic number 515 appears again, and the cryptc^am in the 
last two groups may be considered as hetti me, 515. 

The entire reading for the four groups of alternating three 
and four words is thus: vi segnerete dante. vedi home 
(or NOME 515). metti me 515. 

To these deciphered readings may be added the last of the 
Latin words, me, which falls outside the alternating groups of 
three and four words. 

It is to be noted that me is used to rhyme with itself, like 
Cristo and Dante's symbol 10 vioi. This identical rhyming 
on me is, like the identical rhyming on 10 vioi, a detail of 
Dante's imitation of Christ. 

In Purg. xvi. 19, is the Latin phrase: Agnus Dei. The u of 
agrtus is the same as v; so that the phrase is an anagram for: 
SEQNA Div (515). 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 433 

In Purg. xii. no, is the Latin phrase: Beati pauperes 
spiritu. Consider in these words the follomng telestic letters: 

BEATl I 

PAUPERES ES 

SPIRITU TU 

Read: sei tu 

Dante may here be considered as hearing himself referred 
to in the words of the Beatitudes. 

In Pur^. XV, line38>is the Latin phrase: Beati misencorJf J. 
These Latin words may be considered to yield a signature in 
which the H is missing. Consider in these words the following 
telestic letters: 

BEATI EATI 

MISERICORDES DES 

Read: sei date 

The missing n is referred to in an acrostic on the first lines 
of the four terzine ending with the terzina in which the Latin 
phrase appears: 

38 NOK 
31 TOS 
34 PO 
37 N 
Read: mom posto m 

In Purg. xxii. 5 and 6, are the Latin words: Beati and 
sitiunt. These two words, taken twether, conceal a signature 
in which the d of Dante is missing. The context indicates that 
the missing d is to be supplied. 

Consider in the two Latin words the following final and 
contiguous letters: 

beati EATI 

SITIUMT NT 

Read: ti, ante. With a D supplied, the reading is ti, 

DANTE. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



«4 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

There are several hints in the context to supply the o. 
Notice, in the first place, line 3: 

Avendomi dal viso un colpo raso. 
These words are capable of being taken as a hint that a letter 
has been removed from Dante's visoy or signature. And the 
whole of the second terzina, in which the Latin words appear, 
is so phrased as to imply that Beaft and sttiunly which surest 
the sound of dante, jf nz' altro, cih jomirOy line 6. 

Line 17 reads: 

Piit strinse mai di non vista persona. 

The words di non vista are capable, when removed from 
their context, of being understood as an allusion to the unseen 
letter d. 

Another reference to the concealed D may be found in an 
acrostic on the initials of the five lines ending with the line in 
which sitiunt appears: 

2 L 

3 A 

4 E 

5 D 

6 c 
Read: cela d 

There is also an acrostic on all the first eighteen lines of the 
canto which seems to point to the signature hidden in Beati 
and sitiunt. Consider on tines 1-18 the following marginal 
letters: 

1 Gi 10 qu 

2 L A II AC 

3 AVE 13 PUR 

4 E (i 13 O 

5 DET 14 NE 

6 CON 15 CHE 



Read: peremas qui vel. ecco che dante signa qui poema 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 435 

In Purg. xxix. 3, is the Latin phrase: Bead quorum tecla 
sunt peccata. Consider the final letters of these words: 

BEATI I 

QUORUM M 

TECTA A 

SUNT T 

PECCATA A 

Read: amati 

Compare with the sense of this telestic the donna inna- 
morata, line I. 

In Purg. xix. 73, is the Latin phrase: Adhaesit pavimento 
anima mea. Consider in these words the following final and 
contiguous letters: 

adhaesit t 

pavimento o 

ANIMA MA 

MEA A 

Read: ahato 

In Purg. xix. 99, is the Latin phrase: Scias quod ego Jut 
successor Petri. Consider in these words the following final 
and contiguous letters: 

SCIAS AS 

QUOD OD 

EGO O 

FUI I 

SUCCESSOR OR 

PETRI 1 

Read: 10 sard dig 

In the ultimate identification of himself with God, Dante, 
in a sense, becomes God. 

In Purg. XXV. 121, is the Latin phrase: Summae Deus 
cUmentiae. Taking the u of Deus for its equivalent v, consider 
in these words the following final and contiguous letters: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



436 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

SUMMAE AB 

DEUS DEU5 

CLEMENTIAE NTIAE 

Read: ave. sei dante 

In Par. xxv. 98, is the Latin Sperent in te. These words 
contain a signature which may be deciphered by substituting, 
as in the phrase; In te, Domine, speravi, page 443, an a for 
the I, and by supplying a d, in accordance with hints in the 
text to do so. Consider in these Latin words the following 
initial and contiguous letters: 

SPERENT SPERE 

IK B AN AH 

TE TE 

Read: per se, ante 

By supplying a d from the context, the readii^ may be 

PER SB, DANTE. 

A hint to supply a d may be the fact that the Latin words 
are immediately followed by di, the preposition which may 
be considered as the spelled form of d. 

That DANTE is here concealed is hinted in the acrostic 
on lines 94-99: 

94 E 

95 LA DOV 

96 QUE 

97 E PRIMA 

98 SPERENT 

99 A 

Read: peremas veld, dante pare qui 
Another hint that the Latin words are to be understood 
as having a cryptic reference to Dante may be taken from 
Dante's words, lines 88-89: 

Le nuove e le scritture antiche 
Pongono il segno, ed esso lo mi addita. 

There is surely a double meaning in these words. Dante is 
referring not only to the New and Old Testaments; he is 



)doyGoO(^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 437 

referring also to the new and old ways of writing, the 
manifest and the cryptic. In the present instance, in con- 
nection with the Latin Sperent in te, Dante says in ciFect 
that he is himself referred to. 

In Par. xv. 28-30, Cacdaguida, the ancestor of Dante, 
addresses Dante in Latin. His words are: 

O sanguis metis, o superinfusa 

Gratia Dei I sicut tibi, cui 

Bis unquam coeli ianua redusa f 

Consider the following initial and contiguous letters of all 
the words of this terzina: 



SANOUIS SA 

UEUS ME 

o o 

SUPERINFUSA SUPER 

ORATIA O 

DEI D 

SICUT SIC 

TIM TI 

CUI CUI 

BIS BI 

UNQUAM UNQUA 

COELI CO 

lAKUA IANUA 

RECLU5A RE 

Read: pereuas vi. sono qui in rebus tvo cacciaouida 

Rebus is a well recognized word in cryptc^aphy. 

In connection with the cryptogram in the preceding 

pass^e, let me show the cryptt^am on the four terane. 

Par. XV. 34-45: 

Chi dentro agli occhi suoi ardeva un riso 34 

Tal, ch' io pensu co' miei toccar lo fondo 

Delia mia gra^a e del mio PariuUso. 
Indi ad udire ed a veder gjocondo, 37 

Giunse lo spirto al suo principio cose 

Ch' io non mtesi, si pand profoodo: 



idovGoOt^lc 



438 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

N6 per elezion mi si nucose, 40 

Ma per necessity, chfe il suo concetto 

Al segno dei mortal si soprappose. 
E quando 1' arco dell' ardente alFetto 45 

Fu si sfocato che il partar dtscese 

Inver lo segno del nostra iotelletto; 

Consider the following mai^nal letters of the iirst lines 
of these terzine: 
34 CH 
37 I 

40 N 

43 B 

Read: niche. 

This may be an Italian transliteration of the Greek nUtf. 

There arc several hints in this passage: cose cK to non in- 
tesiy s) parld profondo, 38-39; Ne per elezion mi si nascose, 
40; sepio del nostra intelletto, 45. 

Nlmj, Greek for "victory," expresses Dante's satisfaction 
in his meeting with Cacciaguida, who as a benign father 
image contrasts with the m^uignant and hated father image 
as it appears in Filippo Argenti. 

In Par. vii. 1-3, is a terzina composed entirely of a 
combination of Latin and Hebrew. This terzina recalls the 
foregoing Latin terzina, in which a rebus is discovered. 

Consider in the words of the present terzina che following 
initial and contiguous letters: 

OSANNA O 



SAKCTUS 


SA 


DEUS 


DE 


SABAOTH 


SAB 


SUPERILLUSTRANS 


SUPERI 


CLARITATE 


CLARI 


TUA 


T 


FELICES 


FELI 


IGNES 


IGNE 


HORUM 


HOR 


MALACHOTH 


MALA 



Read: pereuas. suo noLio dakte rischiara bella 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 439 

In Gnostic symbolism the divine son, as Light, in the in- 
cestuous relation with the divine mother through whom he is 
to be reborn, is described as shining upon, or illuminating, 
her. 

In Purg. xxvi. lines I40-I47, there is a passage in Provenfal, 
as if uttered by the Provengal poet Arnaut. The passage is: 

Tan m' abellis voscre cortes deman, 

Qu'ieu no-m puesc, ni-m voil a vos cobrire. 
leu sui Arnaut, que plor, e vau cantan, 142 

Consiros vei ta passada folor, 

E vei jauzen I0 jom qu' esper, denan. 
Ara vos prec per aquella valor, I45 

Que vos guida a I som de I' escalina, 

Sovenha vos a temps de ma dolor. 

Consider on all the lines in Provencal the following 
marginal letters: 



140 


TAN M ABELL 


141 


QU I 


142 


lEU 


143 


CON 


144 


E V 


I4S 


ARA 



146 Q.V 

147 sq 

Read: quasi vece arnaut, nomo qui bella 
Notice, moreover, that the first and last words of the first 
line of the Provencal: 

TAN deman, 

spell DANTE, MAN. The MAN suggests, like "hand" in English, 
"signature." 

In Purg. XXX there is a series of Latin quotations, all of 
which are to be considered as containing a hidden meaning. 
The first appears on line 1 1 : ^f«(, sponsa, de Ltbano. This 
phrase is followed, line 15, by alleluiando, which may be' 
considered as another foreign word. In these five foreign 
words consider the following initial and contiguous letters: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



440 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

VEKI VE 

3POHSA S 

DE D 

UBANO LIB 

ALLELUIAKDO ALLE 

Read: disvela Bella 

The next Latin phrase is: ad uocetn tanti senis, line 17. 
Consider in these words the following initial and contiguous 
letters: 

AD AD 

rOCEM vo 

TAKTI TA 

SENIS SENI 

Read: SAvio dakte 

Possibly the two phrases, with alleluiando, should be read 
together^ thus: 

VENI VE 

8K>HSA S 

DE D 

LIBANO LIBANO 

ALLELUIANDO ALLE 

AD A 

VOCEM VOC 

TANTIS TA 

SENIS SEMI 

Read: savio dante si vela con bella 
The phrase: yeni, sponsa, de Libano is uttered by h» dHoro, 
quasi da del messo. The association of these words with Dante 
appears from the consideration of the phrases: del del messo^ 
and messo da dio (see p. 235). 

Immediately following the two Latin phrases just con- 
sidered are two others. They appear in lines 19-ai : Benedictus 
qui veniSy and Manibus date /ilia plenis. 

Consider the following initial and contiguous letters in 
these Latin words: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 



BENEDICTUS 


BEN 


QUI 


QUI 


VENIS 


VEN 


MANIBUS 


UA 


O 





DATE 


DATE 


LILIA 


LILIA 


PLENIS 


PLE 



Read: veli, dahte, bella qui in poema 

In Par. xii. 93, is the Latin phrase; decimas quae sunt 
pauperum Dei. Consider in these words the following teiestic 
letters, taking the final u of pauperum as its equivalent v: 



DECIMAS 


AS 


QUAE 


AE 


SUNT 


NT 


PAUPERUM 


PERUM 


DEI 


DEI 



Read; peremas vi dante 

In Par. xiii. 100, is the Latin phrase: si est dare primum 
motum esse. Consider in these words the following initial and 
contiguous letters: 

SI SI 

est e 

dare da 

primum pr 

MOTUM MO 

ESSE E 

Read: peremas did 

In Purg. ix. 140, is the Latin sentence: Te Deum laudamus. 
These words contain a signature, dante, in which the letter k 
is missing, and the missing n is unmistakably referred to in 
the passage in which the words occur. Consider the following 
initial and contiguous letters in the Latin words: 



)doyGoO(^lc 



442 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



DEUM DEV (u and V being equivalent) 

LAUDAMUS LA 

Read: vel: date 

With an H the reading would be vel: dahte. Now there 
are various hints in the text that this vel: date is to be 
understood as vel: dante. The similarity of the sound of the 
two phrases is so confusing that, as Dante suggests, line 145, 

Or si or no s'intendon le parole. 
And in line 132 there is an expression which is so phrased that 
it may be understood, when taken from its context, as a direct 
allusion to the missing n: chi 'ndietro si guata. By removing 
the chi from this phrase there appears the following : A'^ dietro 
si guata. 

Dante has further indicated the silent n in an acrostic in 
the passage in which the Latin phrase appears. The last ten 
lines of the canto are: 

Non rug^hi^ st, nh si mostr6 s) acra 136 

Tarpeia, come tolto le fu tl buono 

Metello, per che poi rimase macra. 
lo mi rivolsi attento al primo tuono, 139 

E Te Deum laudamus mi parea 

Udir in voce mista al dolce suono. 
Tale imagine appunto mi rendea 142 

Ci6 ch io uaiva, qual prender si suole 

Quando a cantar con organt si stea: 
Che or si or no s' intendon le parole. 145 

Consider on the r^ular ten-line frame the following 
marginal letters: 
136 N 
139 I 
143 ta 
145 C 
Read: taci n 

The passage which concludes with the lines just quoted 
records a curious instance of disobedience on the part of 
Dante. The angel of God has just permitted Dante and Virgil 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 443 

to pass through the entrance into Purgatory proper, and in 
admitting the poets he says, lines 131-132: 
Entrate; ma facciovi accorti 
Che di fuor torna chi 'ndietro si guata. 

Now in spite of the threatened penalty of being turned out if 
he looked back, Dante states, hne 139, that 

lo mi rivoisi attento al primo suono. 
But why, if the angel meant what he said, was the penalty not 
inflicted? Why was Dante not compelled to tornare dijuor? 
There is apparently no answer given to this question in the 
poem, but the answer is implied in the cryptogram which has 
just been deciphered. Dante was turned out, as a result of 
looking back, in the sense of having his name turned out of 
TV Deum laudamus. 

In Purg. XXX. 83-84, are two Latin phrases: 7« fe, Domine, 
speravi and pedes meos. These Latin words indicate the begin- 
ning and end of a passage in a Psalm sung by the angels. But 
why does Dante indicate the exact limits of the passage ? He 
does so, as I shall show, as a means of getting the exact letters 
needed for a cryptogram. Notice, in the first place, the 
suggestion of his name in In te, Domine. Of the first five 
letters in this phrase four belong to the poet's name. The 
coincidence can scarcely be imagined to have escaped the 
attention of Dante. Now the letters In te, D can be con- 
verted into Jn te, D by the cabalistic method of considering 
the letter i, which is a one in the Arabic notation, as the letter 
corresponding to one, or a, the first letter of the alphabet. 
Consider now the following initial and contiguous letters, 
changing by the recognized cabalistic method the i of In and 
the 1 of Domine into a's: 



DOMIKE 


= 


DOMAKE 


DOHA 


SPERAVI 








SPERA 


PEDES 








PE 


MEOS 








ME 


Read: peremas 


POEMA. 


DANTE 





DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc 



444 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

In Par. -id, 61, is thehitin phrase: Et coram poire. Consider 
in these words the following initial and contiguous letters: 



CORAM c 

PATRE PA 

Read: PACE 

Consider in the same words the followtng final and 
contiguous letters: 

ET T 

CORAM MA 

PATRE RE 

Read: mater 

I suspect that in the use of single Latin words in the text 
of the Divina Commedia there may be a double meaning. 
This double meaning may appear in an anagrammatic re- 
arrangement of the word. 

We have seen the an^ram ave — eva. Another is velle, 
which appears in Par. iv. 2J and Par. xxxiii. I43. This may be 
read el vel, el being a good form for //. Another example is 
Delectasti, Purg. xxviii. 80, quoted from Psalm xcii. 4. This 
word is an anagram for celasti de. As de is a symbol of 
Dante, the meaning of the anagram is: celasti dante. 

In Par. xxvi. 17, reference is made to the Greek letters 
alpha and omega. These letters may be considered as suggest- 
ing a signature, in that alpha, or A, is the banning and 
omejru, or o, is the end, of ALDiGHiERO. a . . . o, as used for 
ALDioHiERO, IS exactly analogous to the constant use of de, 
or ED, for DANTE. The identification of Dante and Christ, 
expressed many times and in many ways in the Divina 
Commedia, is implicit i^ain in these letters, for " I am Alpha 
and Omega . . . saith the Lord." 

GROUPS OF PROPER NAMES 

We have already seen in Chapter III examples of crypto- 
grams constructed on the proper names of a passage. The 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 445 

first cryptogram of this kind which I showed is constructed 
on the names of the group of souls that accompanied Christ 
in his ascent from Hell to Heaven. And I suggested that by 
signing his name in a cryptogram on the first letters of their 
names Dante identifies himself with them. I give here 
examples of cryptograms on other groups of proper names. 
In the nobile castello Dante sees the heroes and heroines 
of antiquity and then the philosophers. Both these groups 
show cryptographic signatures on the first letters of the 
proper names. The pass^e containing the heroes and 
heroines, InJ. iv. 1 21-129, '^ ^ follows: 

Id vidi Elettra con moltt compasni, 121 

Tra' quai conobbi Ettore ed £nea, 

Cesare armato con gli occhi grifagni. 
Vidi Cammilla e la Pentesilea, 124 

Dair altra parte vidi il re Latino, 

Che con Lavinia sua figlia sedea. 
Vidi quel Bruto che caccift Tarquino, 127 

Lucrezia, Julia, Marzia e Comiglia, 

E solo in parte vidi il Saladino. 

Note that the initials of these three terzine are: 

131 I 
124 V 
127 V 
Read: v i v, that is, 515. 

Consider the following initial and contiguous letters in all 
the proper names in this passage of heroes and heroines: 

ELETTRA ELE 

ETTORE E 

ENEA ENE 

CESARE CESA 

CAMMILLA CAM 

PENTESILEA PE 

LATINO L 

LAVINIA LAV 

BRUTO BRUTO 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



446 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

TARQUINO TARQU 

LUCREZIA L 

lULIA I 

HARZIA M 

CORNIOLIA CO 

SALADINO SALAD 

Read: peremas vel. ecco qui dante colla sua matre 

BELLA 

The following passage, Inj. iv. 130-144, contains the 
philosophers: 

Poi che innalzai un poco piik le ciglia, 130 

Vidi il Maestro di color che sanno, 

Seder tra lilosotica famiglia. 
Tutti lo miran, tutti onor gli fanno. 133 

Quivi vid' io Socrate e Platone, 

Che innanzi agli altri piil presso gli stanno. 
Democrito, che if mondo a caso pone, 136 

Diogenes, Anassaeora e Tale, 

Empedocles, Eraclito e Zenone; 
E vidi il buono accoglitor del quale, 139 

Dioscoride dico: e vidi Orfeo, 

Tullio e Lino e Seneca morale: 
Euclide goemetra e Tolommeo, 142 

Ippocrate, Avicenna e Galieno, 

Averrois, che il gran comento feo. 

The first philosopher whom Dante sees is il maestro di 
color che sanno, line 131. It is to be noted that Dante, who 
is here referring to Aristotle, does not mention him by name. 
The reason that Dante does not mention Aristotle by name 
is simply for the sake of the duplicity of his intention. In 
referring to il maestro di color che sanno he isindicatingnot only 
Aristotle but himself. A similar duplicity appears in the 
anonymous allusions to David, Par. xx. 38, ^neas, Inf. i. 
73-74, and Homer, Purg. xxii. loi. 

Aristotle is seated, as Dante says, tra filosofica Jamiglia, 
with Socrates and Plato nearest to him. These three form a 
philosophic trinity as a family analogous to the divine 
Trinity. This philosophic trinity is likewise analt^ous to the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 447 

poetical trinity of Virgil, Statius, and Dante. Regarded thus 
as a trinity, the three supreme philosophers are separated 
from the rest and are named by Dante in his poem separately, 
lines 130-135. Notice that in the line in which he mentions 
Plato and Socrates: 

Quivi vid' io Socrate e Platone, 
the QUIVI vid'io is the equivalent of quivi 515, or Dante 
himself. 

The philosophers grouped about Aristotle, Plato, and 
Socrates are named in the next lines, 136-144. 

Recall first that Dante has spelled his name by the 
"string" cipher method on line 137: 

Diogenes, ANassagora e TalE. 
The signature is especially plain because the first letters of 
the three names spell in themselves: dakt. 

In addition to these three philosophers, Diogenes 
Anassagora, and Tale, who give a dakt by themselves, there 
are grouped about the philosophic trinity of Aristotle, 
Socrates, and Plato the following: Democrito, Empedocles, 
Eraclito, Zenone, Dioscoride, Orfeo, Tullio, Lino, Seneca, 
Euclide, Tolommeo, Ippocrate, Avicenna, Galieno, and 
Averrois. 

Take of these names the following contiguous letters, 
beginning with the initials, noticing that the i of Ippocrate 
is aspirated in the original Greek and so may be regarded as 
supplying an h: 

DEMOCRITO D 

EMPEDOCLES E 

ERACLITO ER 

ZENONE ZENO 

DIOSCORIDE DI 

ORFEO OR 

TULLIO TU 

LINO LI 

SENECA S 

EUCLIDE E 

TOLOMMEO T 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



448 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

'iPPOCRATE HI 

AVICENKA A 

OALIENO G 

AVERROIS A 

Read: dante aldighiero, tu sei zero 
Or, by regarding the "zero" as the equivalent of an o: sei 

TU, O DANTE ALDIGHIERO. 

I believe that this cryptogram is to be understood in the 
double sense which I have here indicated. Dante is here 
arrogating to himself the combined wisdom of all the 
philosophers and saying at the same time that the wisdom of 
man is nothing. 

Notice, moreover, how nearly Dante comes to spelling 
his name on the initials of lines 140-I44: 



With the next line, in which he says with a double meaning, 
lo non posso ritrar di tutti appieno, 
he completes the spelling. Consider for this spelling the 
following marginal letters: 



143 


» 


144 


AV 


MS 


10 N 


Read: 10 vi 


DANTE 



Interesting in connection with Dante's play on the names 
of the ancient philosophers is his reference to Thomas 
Aquinas, Par. x. 97-99, which is so phrased as to suggest the 
name of Dante. Thomas Aquinas, who is speaking, indicates 
thus the names of his companions and himself: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 449 

9ue$ti che m' % a destra plil vicino, 
rate e maestro fummi, ed esso Alberto 
£ di Cologna, ed io Thomas d' Aquino. 

The words in which he refers to himself, ed io Thomas 
d" Aquino, begin with Dante's symbol ed io, and the letters 
beginning the two proper names that follow may be con- 
sidered as T and d'aquin, which may be read: dant qui. 
Notice also that 10 dante is spelled by the initial t of Thomas 
and the six letters immediately preceding: ka ed io t. 

There is a group of proper names in Purg. vii. 91-1 la. The 
first five terzine of this passage are as follows; 

Colui che pib sied' alto, e fa sembianti 91 

\y aver negletto ci6 che far dovea, 

E che non move bocca agli altrui canti, 
Ridolfo imperador fu, che potea 94 

Sanar le piaghe ch' hanno Italia morta, 

SI che tardi per altri si ncrea. 
L' altro, che nella vista lui conforta, 97 

Resse la terra dove 1' acqua nasce, 

Che Molta in Albia, ed Atbia in mar ne porta: 
Ottacchero ebbe nome, e netle fasce 100 

Fu meglio assai che Vincislao suo figlio 

Barbuto, cui lussuria ed ozio pasce. 
£ quel Nasetto, che stretto a consiglio 103 

Far con colui ch' ha si benigno aspetto, 

Mori fuggendo e disfiorando il giglio: 

Consider the following marginal letters of the first lines of 
these terzine: 

91 c 
94 R 
97 LA 

100 o 

103 E 

Read: e claro 

The initials of the first five proper names in this passage 
are: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



4S0 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



RIDOLFO 

ITALIA 

MOLTA 

ALBIA 

ALBIA 

Read: makia 



The rest of the proper names in the passage are: 



ottachero 
vincislao 

FRANCIA 



Consider the following initial and contiguous letters of 
these names: 



FRA 

Read: vi faro 

Thus the complete reading on this group of proper names 

is: VI FARO MARIA. 

This passage occurs in the description of the Valley of the 
Princes, the grembo which, as I have already shown, is asso- 
ciated in Dante's symbolism with the divine mother, Maria. 

In /»/■. xvi. 94-102, is a group of propernames (and we have 
a right to regard Alpe as a proper name). Of these names 
consider the following contiguous letters beginning with the 
initials: 

VESO V 

APENHIKO APEN 

ACQUAQUETA A 

FOR LI FORLI 

BENEDETTO BEN 

ALPE AL 

Read: fanno via per bella 

The passage shows Dante's elaborate water and river 
symbolism. Note that immediately following is the symbol of 
the cord and the lonza. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 451 

In Parg.yiv. 16-48, is a group of proper namesof which we 
consider the following initial and contiguous letters: 

TOSCANA TO 

FALTERONA FALTER 

ARNO A 

PELORO PEL 

CIRCE CI 

BOTOLI B 

Read: factito per bella 

Factito is Latin. This passage is an elaborate description of 
the Arno and is another instance of Dante's river-mother 
symbolism. 

The following passage, Purg. vii. 4-9, contains Virgil's 
description of himself: 

'Prima che a questo monte fosser volte 4 

L* anime degne di salire a Dio, 

Fur 1' ossa mie per Ottavian sepolte. 
lo son Virgilio; e per null' altro no 7 

Lo ciel perdei, che per non aver ffe': 

Cos) rispose allora il Duca mio. 

Of the three proper names in this passage consider the 
following initial and contiguous letters: 

DlO DI 

ottavian o 
virgilio v 

Read: divo 

Consider the following initial and contiguous letters of all 
the proper names of the last ten lines o( Purg. vii; 



BEATRICE 


BEATRl 


MARCH ERITA 


MAR 


COSTANZA 


CO 


ARRIGO 


A 


INGHILTERRA 


I 


CUGLIELMO 


GUGLIEL 



DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc 



452 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

HARCHESE H 

ALESSANDRA ALE 

MONFERRATO MO 

CANAVESE CANAVE 

Read: ecco vi sou. matre bella eguaglia haria 

The first name in the series is Beatrice. The cryptogram 
thus associates Bella, Beatrice, and Maria. Compare this with 
the acrostic: eguaglia cost la madre, shown on page 337. 

There are two other cryptograms on groups of proper 
names which include the name Beatrice. 

Consider, first, the following initial and contiguous letters 
of ail the proper names in Pta: xxix. i-g: 

LATONA LA 

MOKTONE MON 

LIBRA L 

BEATRICE BE A 

Read: noma bella 

Now consider the following marginal letters of the first 
lines of the first four terzine of Par. xxxii: 



Read: snella 

The passage refers to Eve, and the meaning may be that 
Eve is quick or prone to sin. 

Now consider in this passage the foUowit^ initial and 
contiguous letters of the proper names: 

MARIA MA 

RACHEL RA 

BEATRICE BEATRICE 

SARA SA 

REBECCA RE 

JUDIT lUD 

Read: Beatrice vi sara madre 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 453 

Consider, finally, the following marginal letters of the 
first six lines of the passage: 
I A 
3 LIB 

3 E CO 

4 1. 

5 <IV 

6 EC 

Read: ecco qui bella 

ACROSTICS ON FIRST LINES OF 
CONSECUTIVE CANTOS 

It is a recognized device in cryptography to use for 
acrostics not only the initial positions of lines or of stanzas 
but also of larger units of text, as in the signature of Fran- 
cesco Coionna in the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. This 
signature, as I have already explained, is written on the 
initials of the chapters of the book. I will now show that in 
an analogous way Dante makes use of the initial positions 
of his cantos. I am unable, however, to find a continuous 
reading through all the cantos. Imagine that the first lines 
of the cantos are written one under the other like the lines 
of a poem. The first lines of the first four cantos of Inferno^ 
written thus together, appear as follows: 

Inf. i. I. Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita 

Inf. ii. I. Lo giomo se n'andava, e I'aer bmno 

Inf. iii. I. Per me si va nella cittil dolente 

Inf. iv. I. Ruppemi I'alto sonno nella testa 

Consider the following marginal letters of these lines: 

i. NEL 

ii. LO 
iii. p 

iv. RD 

Read: prunello 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



/»/. 


i. I. 


/,/. 


ii. I. 


/»/. 


iii. I. 


/»/. 


iv. I. 


/»/. 


V. I. 


/«/. 


vi. I. 


/»/. 


vii. I. 


/»/. 


viii. I. 


/»/. 


ix. I. 


/,/. 


X. I. 


Inf. 


xi. I. 


M. 


xii. I. 



4S4 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

This acrostic prukello, as the evil or fruitless tree, stands 
thus at the beginning oi Inferno. Compare the thorn symbol- 
ism of the New Testament, and also pruno. Inf. xiii. 32. 

Consider now in connection with this acrostic prunello 
the first lines of the first thirteen cantos of Inferno: 

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita 
Lo giorno se n'andava, e i'aer bruno 
Per me si va nella citta dolente 
Ruppemi I'alto sonno nella testa 
Cos! discesi del cerchio Drimaio 
Al tomar della mente, cne si chiuse 
Pape Satan, pape Satan aleppe 
lo dico seguitando, ch'assai prima 

§uel color che vilta di fuor mi pinse 
ra sen va per un secreto calle 
In su r estremita d' un' alta ripa 
Era lo loco, ove a scender la riva 
Inf. xiii. I. Non era ancor di la Nesso arrivato 

Consider the following marginal letters of these Hnes: 



Read; copio qui lo prunello. dante 

This acrostic is appropriate to the symbolism of Inferno, 
in which Dante "copies the thorn-tree" in the sense that he 
represents himself as leading the evil life of which the thorn- 
tree is the symbol. Notice that the acrostic is read on the first 
lines of thirteen cantos. The symbolism of the number of 
thirteen as unlucky or evil is appropriate to the meaning of 
the acrostic. Notice, moreover, that it is in the thirteenth 
canto, on which the acrostic ends, that the pruno, su^esting 
the prunello of the acrostic, is mentioned. 

Following are the first lines of the last three cantos of 
Inferno: 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 455 

Inf. xxxii. I. S'io avessi le rime aspre e chiocce 
/«/. xxxiii. I. La bocca solIev6 dal fiero pasto 
Inf. xxxiv. I. Vexilla Regis prodeunt inferni 

Consider the following marginal letters of these lines: 
xxxii. SI 
xxxiii, LA 

xxxiv. VE 

Read: si vela 

Following are the first lines of the last two cantos of 
Purgatorio: 

Purg. xxxii. I. Tanto eran gli occhi miei tissi ed attenti 
Purg. xxxiii. i. Deus, venerunt gentes, altcrnando 

Consider the following marginal letters of these lines: 

xxxii. TAN 

xxxiii. DE 
Read: DANTE 

Following are the first lines of the first four cantos of 
Paradise: 

Par. i. I. La gloria di colui che tutco move 

Par. ii. i. O voi che siete in piccioletta barca 

Par. iii, i. Quel sol, che j)ria d'amor mi scald& il petto 

Par. iv. I. Intra due cibi, distant! e moventi 

Consider the following marginal letters of these lines: 



11. o vo 

iii. QUE 

iv. INTRA D 

Read: lavoro qui dante 

There is another reading on the marginal letters, thus: 



Read: LOQui 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



Par. xxiv. 
Par. XXV. 
Par. XX vi. 
Par. xxvii. 
Par. xxviii. 
Par. xxix. 



4S6 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

Following are the first lines of cantos xxvi to xxviii of 
Paradise- 
Par, xxvi. I. Mentr'io dubbiava per lo viso spento 
Par. xxvii. i. Al Padre, al Figlio, alio Spirito Santo 
Par. xxviii. i. Poscia che contra alia vita presente 

Consider the following marginal letters of these lines: 

xxvi. ME 

xxvii. A 
xxviii. po 

Read: poema 

Following are the first lines of cantos xxiv to xnx of 
Paradisoi 

O sodalizio eletto alia gran cena 
Se mai concinga che il poema sacro 
Mentr' io dubbiava per lo viso spento 
Al Padre, al Figlio, alio Spirito Santo 
Poscia che contra alia vita presente 
Quando ambedue i figli di Latona 

Consider the following marginal letters of these lines: 
xxiv. o 

XXV. SE MAI 

xxvi. MENT 

xxvii. AL PA 

xxviii. PO 

xxix. QUANDO A 

Read: qui dante posa mano al poema 

Following are the first lines of the last four cantos of 
Paradiso: 

Par, XXX. I. Forse sei milia miglia di lontano 

Par. xxxi. I. In forma dunque di Candida rosa 

Par. xxxii. i, Affetto al suo piacer quel contemplante 

Par, xxxiii. i. 'Vergine Madre, figlia del tuo Figlio 

Consider the following marginal letters of these lines: 

DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 



XXXI. IS 

xxxii. A 
xxxiti. VE 
Read: fik. ave 

These last two readings on the first lines of the last cantos 
of the Divina Commedia should be considered together: 

DANTE POSA QUI MAHO AL POEMA. FIN. AVE. 

Or it may be that the readings on the first lines of the 
last cantos of the three canticles should be read together 

thus: SI VELA DANTE. FIN. AVE. 

Some of the cryptograms which I have shown in the 
present chapter are so apparent that there can be no question 
of the validity of the reading. Others are obscure, and the 
reading is problematic. But I have presented them for two 
reasons, first, because as a group they show indications of 
intention, and second, because as a group they point to a 
cryptographic plan in the Divtna Commedia more inclusive 
than I have been able to prove. Part of my purpose, therefore, 
in showing cryptic readings of which I am not certain, is to 
suggest the direction which should be followed in further 
investigations of Dante's cryptography. 

PROBLEMS OF MEANING 

Turning now from the problems of cryptography to the 
problems of meaning, let me in conclusion enumerate the 
formal elements of which the Dtvina Commedia is composed 
and indicate the opportunities which these elements offer for 
further analysis. 

The Divina Commedia of Dante Aldighiero is an unsur- 
passed, if not the supreme, synthesis of human thought. It 
condenses into a unit of almost unbelievable complexity the 
universe of knowledge as it existed in Dante's time. It is a 
compendium of the political, artistic, philosophical, and 
religious history of the world. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



458 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

But the historical element in- the Divina Commedta is by 
no means paramount. As Dante himself declares, the Divina 
Commedta is an allegory, a kind of poetical creation which, 
by his own definition, expresses, along with a literal or 
historical meaning, a non-historical or allegorical meaning. 

Now as an allegory the Divina Commedta has a peculiar 
feature which it shares with many other allegories, but not 
with all. Itpurports tobetherecordof adream. It is called a 
vision by Dante himself, and in addition to its dream form as 
a whole, it contains within itself a number of other dreams 
and many observations as to the meaning of dreams. It is 
obvious, therefore, that Dante attaches an importance to 
dreams as a mode of expression, and that in casting the 
Divina Commedia in the form of a dream he may be either 
recording some actual dream-material or else attempting to 
make the dream-poem express in form and in meaning what 
he understands of the form and meaning of dreams in general. 

The main action of the Divina Commedia, which, as we 
have now seen, is an allegory cast in the form of a dream and 
embodying an important element of history, is a journey 
which Dante, as the author, tells of making while he is still 
alive through the post-mortem regions of Hell, Purgatory, 
and Paradise. The idea of the journey of a living man through 
the abodes of the dead is fundamental in the Divina Com- 
media, but it is not, of course, original with Dante. It appears, 
indeed, in countless forms in the mythologies of all peoples. 
Among the heroes of classical mythology who descended alive 
to the underworid of the dead are Odysseus, ^neas, Theseus, 
and Hercules; and Ganymede was taken alive to Heaven. In 
Christian belief St. Paul was "caught up to the third 
heaven," and it is recorded of Christ, in the Apostles' Creed, 
that he descended into Hell after the crucifixion and after 
three days ascended into Heaven. All these instances are 
expressly cited in the Divina Commedia. They set, so to speak, 
the example for Dante's journey and prove that Dante 
consciously adapted an ancient myth for the main action of 
hispoem. 

There are thus, according to the foregoing analysis, four 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS +59 

principal elements in the Divina Commedia: history, allegory, 
dream, and myth. Of these four elements the historical is the 
one that has been most adequately studied in the past, 
though the failure of the historians to identify correctly 
Beatrice, the dxv, and the Veltro has led to a complete mis- 
understanding of the entire poem. If the identifications of 
these characters which I have made in the preceding pages be 
accepted, the chief historical difficulties of the poem are 
solved. 

The remaining three elements into which the Divina 
Commedia may be analyzed, allegory, dream, and myth, 
however they differ from each other, have an important 
feature in common. In contrast with history, which is limited 
to expressing its single literal meaning, allegory, dream, and 
myth are capable respectively of expressing more than one 
meaning at once. 

In regard to the duplicities of allegory the reader of Dante 
is left in no doubt; for the letter to Can Grande and the 
Convivio contain two profound definitions of allegory in 
which its multiple meanings are precisely distinguished. 

The dupHcity of dreams as having a rational as well as 
their obviously irrational meaning has been believed from 
early antiquity, and this belief is confirmed by the modern 
study of dreams. 

The rational as well as the irrational meaning of myths 
was recognized in antiquity, and is likewise confirmed by 
modern scholarship. In popular usage, indeed, the mythical 
is^ffji? untrue, unreal. But the popular view of the mythical 
is obviously in contradiction to the recognized character of 
myths as primitive theories of cosmogony. However false the 
theories thus expressed may appear in the light of modern 
science, they cannot on that account be denied the possession 
of some sort of rational meaning. In its original sense, a myth 
is merely a something said; and the something said contrasts 
with a something done in a primitive ceremony of a magical 
character, a ceremony performed with the object of bringing 
about a change in nature similar to the change indicated in 
symbolic form by the words and the action. In other terms, 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



46o THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

the myth was originally the spoken part of a drama enacted 
for a practical purpose; and with the gradual disappearance of 
the drama itself the spoken part survived in narrative form. 

Two fundamental errors are to be found, I believe, in much 
of the modern study of myths. The first is the error that the 
symbolism of ancient myths is always unconscious symboi- 
ism, analogous to the symbolism of dreams. This error is 
based on the failure to recognize that the most archaic forms 
of myth, which must indeed have originated unconsciously in 
dream-like phantasies, were reshaped at a very early period 
by highly self-conscious and sophisticated priests and poets, 
such as the Hebrew priests in the period of the Babylonian 
Captivity and the poets of the Homeric period and the great 
Greek dramatists. In this reshaping of the archaic material 
the symbolism which we are at last beginning to recognize 
must have been a self-conscious expression of the priests and 
poets who used it. 

The second error which appears in modern myth inter- 
pretation is the error of supposing that the ancient myth- 
makers were personifying, in the so-called sun myths and 
vegetation myths, the annual or diurnal progress of the sun 
or the recurrence of crops. Man, and especially primitive 
man, is too egocentric to be so exclusively preoccupied with 
the life of a nature that is not his own. In the last analysis 
the so-called sun and vegetation myths must be understood 
to be purely autobiographical, borrowing from the recurrent 
life of the sun and the crops merely the symbols of the manner 
in which man imagines thai he himself may survive. The so- 
called sun and vegetation myths must all be interpreted, 
therefore, as symbolizing, not the rebirth of the sun or the 
crops, but the rebirth of man. 

In view of the rational, as well as of the irrational, meaning 
that must thus be recognized in allegory, dream, and myth, 
it appears that there is needed for the interpretation of the 
Divina Commedia, first, a serious analysis of Dante's own 
definition of allegory, a study of this definition, indeed, in the 
light of the Aquinian account of knowledge; and, second, a 
study of the dream and myth elements of the poem in the 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 461 

light of the modern analysis of dreams and myths in general. 
No adequate analysis of Dante's definition of allegory has 
yet, it seems to me, appeared; nor has any attempt, so far as 
I know, been made to interpret the poem as a dream and 
as a myth. 

Moreover, as allegory, as dream, and as myth, the poem 
must be completely reexamined in the light of the identifica- 
tion of Beatrice with Bella and of the dxv and the Veltro 
with Dante. 

Limited as I have been in the present volume by the 
primary purpose of presenting the cryptography of the 
Divina Commedia, I have postponed to a study now in 
preparation. The Symbolism of tht Divina Commedia, the 
presentation of my own views of the Divina Commedia as 
allegory, dream, and myth. 

But as these views are implicit in the partial interpretation 
of the poem as a whole which I have made already, I wish, in 
conclusion, to define them as briefly as possible. 

The analysis that I propose to make of the Divina Com- 
media as an allegory will show that the various ways in which 
an allegory is to be understood must correspond to the 
various ways we have of understanding. In other words, the 
four meanings which Dante declares that the Divina Com- 
mediOi as an allegory, expresses, correspond to the four modes 
of cognition. The literal meaning corresponds to sensation; 
the allegorical meaning to perception; the moral meaning to 
conception; and the anagogical or symbolical meaning to the 
mode of cognition which appears in the Aquinian account of 
knowledge as revelation, and in other accounts as intuition, 
apperception and interpretation.* This view of the multiple 
meanings of allegory will lead to a new definition of symbol- 
ism, according to which allegory is based on the use of things 
as signs of other things and symbolism is based on the use of 
things as signs of mind or mental states. This fundamental 
distinction between allegory and symbolism, entailed in the 
fundamental distinction between die four meanings of alle- 
gory as based on the four modes of cognition, will make it 
possible to analyse with precision the four distinct and con 
■See J. Royce: rk« Aviton (>f CJMrtMMty. 



)dOyGoO(^lc 



462 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

sistent meanings which Dante actually expresses in the 
Divina Commedia. 

In my analysis of the Divina Commedia as dream I oppose 
to the Freudian view of dreams as symbolizing the sexual life 
in its literal aspects my view that the sexual life appears in 
dreams as itself the symbol of something else — as the symbol, 
indeed, oit\ie personified con^\ci of the intellect, emotion, and 
will of the dreamer himself as an individual. This view of the 
sex symbolism of dreams in general will illuminate the pro- 
founder implications of the sex symbolism of the Divina 
Commedia. 

I also dissent from the Freudian view of dreams as wish- 
fulfiliments. This view involves the Freudians in the difficulty 
of explaining as wish-fulfillments dreams that have every 
appearance ai Jailing to fulfill wishes; and to help themselves 
out of this difficulty they have invented a quite too gullible 
"censor." The wish is invariably fulfilled, according to the 
Freudian view, in spite oj the censor, who strives to thwart 
the wish. But how can it be shown that the thwarting power, 
whatever it is, is always evaded or defeated, and that the wish 
is always fulfilled in spite of it ? In dreaming, as in any other 
activity, asleep or awake, there is doubtless a wish that 
strives to fulfill itself; but there is nothing in the evidence of 
dreams themselves to warrant the belief that the striving to 
fulfill a wish is any oftener, or in any other way, successful in 
dreaming than it is in waking life. Dreams have no such one 
hundred per cent success in fulfilling the wishes implied in the 
dream activity. By virtue of their very liability to failure 
dreams are more lifelike than the Freudians represent them 
to be, and they are accordingly better fitted to the use which 
Dante makes of the dream-form as the form of life. 

I have been obliged, in advance of my forthcoming study, 
to treat in some detail of the mythical element of the Divina 
Commedia, the myth of the journey of a living person through 
the abodes of the dead. But the interpretation of the myth 
as I have expressed it in the present volume remains, as I 
wish to say with all possible emphasis, incomplete. 

Our examination of the myth has resulted, so far, in the 



DiBtizedOvGoQt^lc 



PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS 463 

discovery that it implies a parallel between the structure of 
the universe and the structure of the human body; the 
universe is a womb in which man is at once and in eternal 
repetition the child that is expelled from it, the seed that 
reenters it, and the foetus that remains in it. But the parallel 
between the universe and the human body is only the shell 
of the meaning of the myth; it impHes, as its fundamental 
meaning, a parallel between the universe and the human 
mind, a psycho-physical parallelism which I will discuss in 
The Symbolism of (he Divina Commedia. In the light of this 
psycho-physical parallelism the relation which I have been 
obliged, for want of a better term, to call incestuous in the 
present volume will appear to be a special relation between 
the three faculties of the mind, will, intellect, and emotion, 
which are to be understood as dramatized, in the myths of 
rebirth, as Father, Son, and Mother in conflict and in union. 
An identical use of the/amily as a symbol of the individual 
appears in the Christian account of the divine Trinity, in 
which the Three Persons correspond on the one hand to 
Father, Son, and Mother and on the other hand to the three 
faculties of the human individual, will, intellect, and emotion. 
The Trinity as a family is unmistakably implied in the early 
Gospel of the Hebrews, where the Holy Ghost is represented 
as saying to Christ at the time of the baptism : " Thou art my 
first-born son;" and where Christ Himself is represented as 
saying in the account of the temptation: "My mother, the 
Holy Spirit, lately took me by one of my hairs and carried me 
to the great mountain Tabor." Further support for the 
maternal character of the Holy Ghost may be found in L. L. 
Painc's "The Ethnic Trinities." That the Trinity, which was 
recognized as a family, was likewise recognized as correspond- 
ing to the human individual appears in the work on the 
Trinity by St. Augustine, where a comparison is made be- 
tween God as a Trinity and man as having a trinity of 
faculties. The same correspondences between the Trinity and 
the human family and the human individual are expressed by 
Dante, and it is essential to the interpretation of the Divina 
Commedia that these correspondences be recognized as the 



)doyGoO(^lc 



♦64 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

means by which Dante expresses, primarily, the identifi- 
cation of himself with God, and so, in general, the divine, or 
universal, nature of man. 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



LIST OF CRYPTOGRAMS 



DiBlBSdB,G00l^lC 



asyGoOl^lc 



LIST OF CRYPTOGRAMS 

Following the ciyptograms here listed are bracketed letters 
which indicate the classifications to which the ciyptograms belong. 
[Ac] means Acrostic; [An] Anagram; [C] Cabala; [I S] Interior 
Sequence; [L S] Letter Sequence; [P] Pun; [S C] String Cipher; 
[Sep L] Play on Separate Letters; (T] Telestic. 

DIVINA COMMEDIA 

KirEKBMCK CRYFFOGKAM FACE 

Inf.i. 

1-4 Nemica [Ac] 34-35. 31-34. 3M9. 396-397 

1-9 Dantb [AcJ 104-10S 

I-I3 Nati [Ac] 34-35, 31-34, 37-39, 103,39^-397 

1-12 r NoN So Bbn Ik. Dante [Ac] 103-104 

3-7 Dahtb [I si los 

7-11 Dante [I S| loj 

9-13 Taci D {Ac] 104 

IO-I3 Taci [Ac] 104 

31-36 lo Daotb [IS] 184 

31-43 Mentb [Ac] 183-184 

31-44 Ecco Quasi Me, Dante [Ac{ 183-184 

47-49 Bella [IS] 186-187 

47-So Bella [IS] 186-187 

49-52 Madrb [IS] 186-187 

51-54 Madrb [IS] 186-187 

55-66 "lo Vn>i"QuAMB, Dante [Ac] 141 

58^1 Bella [I SJ 187 

67-69 Mare [Ac] 191 

67-69 Reh [Ac] 191 

67-69 Nome [Ac] 191 

67-87 Maro Rinato Porta [Ac] 189-190 

70-74 Dantb [IS] 190 

71 RoHA (Maro) (Ahor) [An] >9>->93 

74 Dantb [L S] 191 

[467] 



468 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

REPBRBNCE CRYFTOGKAH PAGE 

86^ Delia [IS) 187 

88-99 Cave [Ac] 186 

97-101 Matre tl si 187-188 

100-104 Matre [I SJ 187-188 

loi-ios Matre [IS) 187-188 

103-106 Dante [IS] 187-188 

loo-ioz Me, Veltro (Ac) : . . . 171-17* 

100-ioz SIS [CI 171-172 

100-114 Perehas Qui Poeha. Ecco Dante, Quasi Veltro 

IN Feltro [Ac] 171-173 

101-105 T : Dante [IS] 175 

106-108 CiTA Dantb [Ac] 174 

111-114 Madre [IS] 188 

127-133 Capo Qui. Ed Io [Ac] 151 

127-136 Capo Esce Qui. Dante [Ac] 151-152 

127-136 Indica Ed Io [Ac] 40-41 

1-136 Mente (Ecco Quasi Me, Dante) Cogita Nel 
Poeha (or Guarda Me, Dante — Nati — Copio 
Mente). Loque Questa Mente Quando Poeta 
Maro Qui Mi Riceve, Dantb. Questo Indica 

OvE E Calls [Ac] 421-425 

Inf. a. 

1-2 LoTO [Ael 41-42 

1-12 L'Omo Io IAcJ 4i-4i> 141-14* 

3-8 Io Era Dantb [Tl 141-143 

7-9 Omo Qui [Ac] 141-142 

SO-S4 Madre [IS] 355 

S3-5S Bella [IS] 355 

S3 Bella [P] 3S5 

58-60 Deo [Ac] 19J-I94 

58-69 O Leo [Ac] 193-194 

61-63 Snella [Ac] 193-195 

67-69 Leo [Ac] 193-194 

68-71 Matre [IS] SSS-JS^ 

71-75 Madrb [IS] 3SS-3S6 

70-71 Via [Ac] 3SS-3S6 

91-94 Madre [IS] 356 

101-103 Dante [IS] 356 

102-105 Matre [IS] 356 

Inf. Hi. 

r-9 Per Me Si Va, Per. Me Si Va, Per Me Si Va. 

Dante Si Fa Suo Sigillo [Ac] 224r225 

7 Dante [S C] 70 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



LIST OF CRYPTOGRAMS 469 

REFBRBNCB CRTFTOCRAH PAGE 

I-I2 Veko [Ac] 176 

1-12 T:VEtOR [Ac) 176-177 

46-69 NoN Riusci Dante? (Ac) 100 

55<66 Dante [Ac] loo-ioi 

56-60 MiRA Dant [Ac] loi 

S7 Dante [S Q 72 

[i8-i]2 Copio S'S (Ac and C] i4]-t44 

121-129 S'S IQ 44S 

121-129 Perehas Vel. Ecco Qui Dantb Colla Sua Matre 

Bella [Ac] 445-446 

130-144 Sbi Tu, Dante Aldicbiero (Dante Aldichibro, 

Tu Sei Zbro) [Ac] 476-478 

133-151 Dante £ Elios [Ac] 144-145 

134 Quivi 515 IQ 447 

137 Dante [S Q 71.447 

140-145 lo Vi, Dantb [Ac] 448 

In/.v. 

34-54 Mi Celo Qui. Dante [Ac] 416 

11S-142 PeremasQui. Mi Cblo Nbl PotUA. Dantb [Ac] 406 

Inf. vi. 

64-75 II Pobta Guido [Ac] 415-416 

64-75 Ii PoETA Vi Noma Essi : GuiDO E Dantb [Ac] . , . 415-416 

76-115 Pekbmas Qui Vbl. Feci Qui Guido E Dante [Ac] . 415 

85-87 Dante, Se' Qui (Ac| 69-70 

Inf. Hi. 

t Dantb, Dantb, Albppb (or Christ) [Ac] 303-305 

I Pbne, Pbnb [T] 306 

1-4 Pacb D [Ac] 30s 

Inf. via. 

7 Maro [P] , 192 

42-45 Bella [IS] 324 

45-48 Madrb [IS] 324 

82-93 Savio [Ac] 43-44 

83 Dantb [S q 72 

85-87 Vedi [Ac] 44 

87 Dante [S Q 72 

94-108 Pobha: Dante [Ac] 77-79 

105 Dantb QjS] 79 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



470 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

REFBHBNCE OLYPTCKAAH FACE 

Inf. ix. 

83-84 Me, D.. A.. [Ac] 236 

82-84 SIS [Q 23s 

S8-90 Vbla [Ac] 235 

88^ SIS IQ 433 

Inf. X. 

1-3 LoTo [Ac] 287-288 

1-12 O Leo [Ac] 287-288 

i-iS OSoLB [Ac] 287 

22-33 SoiB [Ac] 288 

39 Dantb is q 73 

127-136 L'AcQUA [Ac] 301-302 

Inf. xi. 

61-73 PoEHA (with Ed lo) [Ac] iSO-iSi 

106 Dante [S q . . 7* 

Inf.xii. 

7S Dante [S q 7» 

Inf. xiii. 

1-5 Dantb [IS] 94 

9^3 Matrb (I SJ 834 

Inf. «w. 

94-105 NuDW [Ac] 329 

94-105 In Una Maors [Ac] 329 

Inf. XV. 

32-33 Cela Ed Io [Ac] 14S 

Inf. xoi. 

43-51 Pbrsius [Ac] 377^278 

43-54 SPEii [Ac] 277 

43-54 Dantb [Ac] 277-278 

88-90 PuNTo [Ac] 52 

94-102 Fanmo Via Per Beua [Ac] 450 

106-114 Pio [Ac] 218-219 

iai-136 EscB Maschio [Ac] 217-318 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



LIST OF CRYPTOGRAMS 471 

REFBRBNCB CSTPTOGRAM PACE 

I-I3 Sbqueia [Ac] 64 

II-I3 Dante (Ac] 64 

86 Daote [S C] 73 

Inf. xriii. 

33 Dakte [S q 73 

34-54 Peremas Qui Damtb [Ac] 278-279 

I27-I36 Taidb [Ac] S9-6o 

127-136 Dantb Qui (Ac] S9-6o 

130 Dantb [S C] 71 

Inf. XX. 

97-iit Pbrbuas (Ac) 276-277,413 

97-111 EdIoSpbrma [Ac] 377 

100-114 Maore, ViSbi [Ac] 411 

113-114 Bella [Ac] 411-412 

Inf. xxi. 

I-I3 Ecco Che Dante Si RivBLA Qui Con Bella [Acj . . 412-413 

lOI DAtTTE [SCI 73 

Inf. xxii. 

105 Dante [SQ ■ 7a 

Inf.xxiii. 

67-78 PoBMA, Ecco Vi Dantb [Ac] 86-87 

76-78 Ved! [Ac] 86-87 

145-148 lo, Dantb [Ac] 70 

148 Dante (S CJ 70 



Inf. xxh. 

31 Dakte [S C] 73 

43-54 Sole [Ac] 289 

70-84 lo Dante [Ac] 70-80 

91-111 EccoEdI Ecco Dante I [Ac] 167-168 

91-111 SIS |C] 169-170 

100 lo [Sep LJ 169 

109-111 EMb [Ac] 170 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



473 THE, CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

REFERENCE CRrPTDGRAU PAGE 

Inf. XXP. 

13-24 Pbrbmas (Spbh) IAc] 175-376 

28-36 Nome Ed [Ac] 1S>-I53 

75 Dante (Ac) 73 



Inf. xxvi 

19-24 Pbremas Qui [AcJ 140 

19-24 lo ViDi rn 140 

71-81 Pleo [Ac] 299 

85-96 LiHNE [Ac] 300 

95 Dante [S q 73 

115 Dante [S q 72 

117 Dante [S q 72 



Inf.xxviii. 

9 Dante IS C) 72 

141 Dante [S CJ 73 

liifxxx. 

77 Dante [S q 72 

Inf.xxxi. 

67 Maria [Ac] 245-246 

67 MiRA A Me [Ac] 245-246 

67 Chiami Mia Bella [T] 245-246 

67-78 pRECE lAcJ 245 

92 Dante (S q 73 

Inf.xxxiii. 

85-96 T: Velor [Ac] 177-178 



Inf. xxxiii. 

22-24 Qua Bella (Ac] 297 

46-57 Copio. Ed Io [Ac] 296 

55-57 Comb Pbne [Ac] 297 

109-1 1 1 Grido Dante [Ac] 70 

133-157 EccoMi Dante [AcJ 416 

139-157 Ecco Che Dante Si Indica Nbl Poema [Ac). . . . 417-418 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



LIST OF CRYPTOGRAMS 473 

CRYPTOGRAM PAGE 

1 Vi SiGNo: Dante (T) 90 

21 Feto [L si 236-237 

21-24 Feto [IS] 236-237 

22-16 Feto Non Vivo [IS] 236-237 

34-60 Sole : SoNo Qui Dante [Ac) 313-214 

40-42 Sole [Ac] 213-314 

43-45 Vel [Ac] 213-214 

88-90 Eli [Ac| 238 

88-96 Elios [Ac] 238 

90-92 Pene [I SJ 238 

93-94 Pene [I SJ 138 

92-94 Pene (IS) 238 

92 Penis [Aji] 237 

iiS-129 LoQui Ed [Ac] I54-I55 

130-139 Sol:D...e (Ac] 35-26,34 

134-139 Dante EscB Qui [Ac] 36-27,34 

Pvrg. i. 

1-6 POEHA. EcCO DaNTB (Ac] 28, 400-403 

1-12 Perehas (Spbm) [Ac] 27, 35, 223 

PvTg. a. 

I-I2 Segno [Ac] 44-45 

41-46 Taci Dantb (oc Cita Dante) [Ac] 96 

43-45 Sei Dante [Ac] 96 

46 Gira. Sei Dante [Ac] 96 

Purg. III. 

76 Dante [S C] 71 

Purg. iv. 

19-31 CoLMA [Ac] 249 

31-33 Pene [Ac] 349-250 

PtTf. vi. 

40-51 Velo Dante [Ac] 81-82 

46-49 Vel, SoNoQui. Dante [Ac] 81-82 

76-87 Accue [Ac] 301-302 

106 Velo. Ecco Me, Dante [Ac] 63 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



474 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

RBFERENCE CKYFTOGKAH PAOS 
PuTg. vii. 

4-9 Divo [Acl 4SI 

IS-18 Chio [Acl S»-S2 

St Vel a Signare [Anl 417-428 

9I-II2 E Claro [Ac| 449 

91-112 Vi Faro Maria [Ac) 449 

127-136 EccoViNoM. Mater Bella Eguaglia Maru [Ac] 451-453 

Ptirg. nit. 

1-21 Dantb E Qui L'Egualb {Ac] 418 

13 Tu Ceu Dante [Ac] 97-98 

19-21 Cekca [Ac) 419 

22-33 Veli (Ac] 419 

26 Dante [S Q 72 

58-69 Pleo [Ac] 301 

90 Dantb [S C) 71 

PuTg. tX. 

64-72 L'Ahica [Ac] 34S 

63-81 NovE [Ac] 345 

136-145 Taci N [Ac] 44a 

140 Vel Dante [Ac] 442 

Pvrg. X. 

35 Dante [SC] 71 

40 Eva [An] 429 

44 Dantb [Ac] 429 

48 Dantb (S C] 73 

74 Dante [S Q 73 

Purg. xi. 

1-9 Velo [Ac] 47-48 

44 Dante [S C] 72 

62 Dantb (S Q 71 

Pvrg. xii. 

25-28 Dante [I SJ 95 

25-28 Dante [IS) 95 

26-29 Da Da Da Da [I S] 95 

25-63 VoM [AcJ 12-14 

no SeiTu [T] 433 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



LIST OF CRYPTOGRAMS 475 

RBFBRBNCB CKYFTOGRAU PAGE 

Pufg. xiii. 

145-154 MoRTE [Ac] 45 

80 Dawte [S C] 73 

83 Dante [S Q 73 

Pufg. xiv. 

lo-li Pbnb [Ac] 292 

16-27 "EoIo,"Di88B [Ac) 146-147 

16-48 Facttto Per Bella [Ac] 451 

Pvrg. XV. 

a8-39 NoN Posto N [Ac] 433 

38 Se! Dante [T] 433 

98 Dante [S Q 73 

118-129 L'Omo Ed [Ac] 390, 

118-119 LoHB [Ac] 290 

127-129 SoLB [Ac] 291 

PuTg. xn. 

19 Sbgna Div (515) [An and C] 432 

37-51 Pbremas. Ecco Che Pobua Vbla Dante [Ac] . . . 418 

67-84 Perehas Vbi [Ac] 48-49 

96 Dantb [S q 73 

Pvrg. xrii. 

133-139 L'Amata [Ac] 47-^ 

PitTg. xviii. 

1-4 Posto L'Anell: "Ed lo" [Ac] 148-149 

1-12 PoBttA (with £d lo) [Ac] 148-149 

Purg. xix. 

38 Dantb [S Q 73 

73 Amato [T] 43S 

99 IoSaroDio rn 43 j 

Ptirg. XX. 

1-3 Contra [Ac] So-S> 

100-tii Dante [Ac] 60-61 

PtiTg. xxi. 

67-69 S15 |C] 197 

68-101 515 [C] 197 

S2-102 Stauo Col N(»ie Dantb [Ac] 197 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



476 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

RBFEKENCB CRrPTOGRAM PAGE 
Purg. xxii. 

1-18 Peremab Qui Vel. Ecco Che Dante Signa Qui 

PoBHA lAc) 434 

»-6 Cela D [AcI 4J4 

S-6 Ti, Dante (F] 433-434 

38-39 TiVelor [Ac] 178 

94-108 Dante [Ac] 81-83 

109-111 Quivi Dante [Ac] 84 

Purg. xxiii. 

10-12 Taci Bella [Ac] 419 

11 Odami, Mia Bella [Ac] 418 

22-33 Omo [Sep L] 106 

33 E Me [P] 206 

Purg. xxiv. 

49-54 Marco Di Dante [Ac] 150 

Purg. xxo. 

10-21 Dante [Ac] 84-86 

1J-15 Taci d [Ac] 84-86 

121 Ave. Sei Dante [T] 435-436 

• Purg.xxvi. 

103-114 PoEMA. Ed lo [Ac] 149 

140-147 Quasi Vece Arnaut, Nomo Qui Bella [Ac] .... 439 

140 Dante, Man [An] 439 

Purg. xxirii. 

8 lo Dante [T] 98-99 

58 Reciti: Sei Dante [T] 42S 

97 Bella [P] 363-364 

97 Giovanna [PI 368 

100-114 Perbmas Qui Vel. Dante Si Cela Con Bella in 

Poema [Ac] 409 

Purg. xxtfiix. 

39-43 Madre Bella [IS] 367 

48-si Madre [IS] 367 

64-75 Bella E Vista [Ac] 364-365 

76-8J Velo Maria [Ac] 365-366 

80 Celasti De (An] 444 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



LIST OF CRYPTOGRAMS 477 

REFERENCE CRYPTOGRAM PACE 

Purg. xxix. 

3 Amati (T] 43S 

16-24 E Me (Acl 6s-66 

16-22 E Me, Dantb [Ac] 65-66 

23-24 Per Mi [Ac] 65-66 

1-154 Peremas Qui Poeha. Eccomi, Dante Aldighibro. 
SoNo Cosi VelatoQui Con Bella. Poema : Dantb 

Lo SiGNA. PoEBitA DaNTE FeLLO QuI [Ac) .... 4Z5-426 
Pvrg. XXX. 

II DisvBLA Bella [Ac] 439-440 

17 Savio Dante JAc) 439-440 

11-17 Savio Dante Si Vela Con Bella [Act 440 

19-11 Veli, Dante, Bella Qui in Poeua tAc] 440-441 

55-66 Quasi Vid [Ac] 137-138 

62-63 Dante Cessi [An] SS-s6 

73-75 Bella [IS] 338 

73-75 Bella (I SJ 338 

73-84 Equaglia Cosi La Madre [Ac] 337 

83-84 Peremas Poema. Dante [Ac] 443 

118-145 Peremas Qui Dante [Ac] 419 

I-I4S Peremas Qui Vel. Ecco Che Dantb S'e Fatto Qui. 
Dante Eguaglia Qui Virtu. Peremas Qui Vel. 

Ecco Come Dante Si NoiIa Qui in Poema [Ac] 426-427 

Purg. xxxi. 

57 Dante [Sq 72 

97-111 Bella Si Noma Qui [Ac] 366 

98 Peremas [Ac] 384 

Purg. xxxii. 

1-6 Tace Da [Ac] 409 

1-12 Poema Qui Cela Dante [Ac) 40S-409 

6'-7S QuiSiCopoLA [Ac] 38s 

151-160 Poena Vela Dant [Ac] 56-57 

Purg. xxxiii. 

I Vi Segnerete Dante [Ac] 430-431 

10 Vedi Nome [AcJ 431-432 

ID Nome, 515 [Ac and C] 431-431 

ii-ii Metti Me 515 [Ac and C] 432 

43 Dux, 515, Dante Aldigriero [An and C] 115-128 

43-57 Mentb [Ac] 121-113 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



478 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

RBFERENCB CRYFTOCRAU PAGE 

43-S7 Mb Dantb [Ac] iii-tij 

43-S7 Dante Si Fincb [Ac] ii6 

43-45 Dante [I SI 124 

43-45 Dante (IS] 124 

47-49 Dante [IS] 124 

5i>s6 Sbgna Dante [IS] 125 

Si-63 51S [C] 311-212 

S5-S7 51S [C] 122 

69-90 Pbrehas Vi Ed Io. Perbhas Vi Edi Io [Ac] . . . 280-2S2 

100-145 Pershas Qur Vel. Dante Si Ceia Con Bella in 

PoBHA [Ac] 409 

119 Matelda [An] 280-282 

136-145 Pio RiMASi [Ac] 28-29, 3S*j6 

142-145 Pwiu Rii [Ac] 28-19, 35-36 

Par. i. 

1-3 In Una Perla [Ac] 29-30, 36 

i-io Vela Pene [Ac] 29-30, 36, 297 

8 Dant [L S] 75 

10 Io Dante [L S] 75 

13-24 Io Entro [Ac] 64-65 

21-24 Segno Dantb [Ac] 64-65 

85-87 Afrio[Ac1 SI 

88-90 Ecco [Ac] 353 

107-110 Dantb [Ac) 69 

121-142 Cosi Vela NoMB Qui [Ac] 339-340 

133-136 Bella [IS] 341 

135-139 Maria [IS] 341 

139-141 Madkb [IS] » 34t 

139 Vagii Maria [An] 340 

140-142 DicoQui [Ac] 340-341 

Par. a. 

1-4 Rotor. Dantb [Ac] 62-63 

I-IO VOLTO [Ac] 62 

34-36 Penb: Raggio DiLucE [Ac] 35&>2S9 

Par. iii. 

1-6 Quel Sol Di Bella. Provando Emo Me Stbhso 

[Ac] 410-411 

1-81 Pbrbbus Qui Vel. Dante Significa Qui Come 

Bella E L'Amata Nel Pobha [Ac] 410 

14 Daktb [S CI 73 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



LIST OF CRYPTOGRAMS 479 

KBFBRBNCB CRYFTOGKAM FAGS 

19-33 PERKMAs [Non] [Ac] 416-417 

48 Bblla [P] 411 

121-130 Cela Ed {Ac] 153 

I3t Eva [An] 439 

Par. iv. 

13-24 Dantb [Ac] 76-77 

45 El Vbl [An] 444 

Par.v. 

97-111 Pbscb [Ac] 260-261 

113-114 Pbbemas [Ac] 363 

11*3-114 Sehb [Ac] 361-262 

136-139 Pbkb Ed [Ac] 259 

Par. vi. 

61-73 Dante Qui [Ac] 61-62 

73 Dante [S C] 7s 

124 Dantb [S C] 73 

134-143 PoEMA. Dantb Qui [Ac] 2ocy2oi 

133-142 s»S [C] 2oi-2oa 

Par. Pit. 

1-3 Pbrehas. Suo Figlio Dantb Rischiaka Bella [Ac] 438 

1-37 Pbremas. EccoQuiPoeha [Ac] 383-383 

1015 DiLLB, Dillb, Dillb [C and P] 35o-3Si 

13 Indonna [P] 351 

14 Be-Ahor-Icb [AnJ 347 

16-18 Poeta [Ac| 382-384 

16-35 ^PEM [Ac] 382-383 

16-25 Spbrha [Ac] 383-383 

27 Dantb [S C] 73 

76-87 SoivoEd [Ac] . 153-154 

133 Dantb [S C] . . ■ 73 

Par. oiii. 

1-12 Pekbuas (b Spbrha) [Ac] 333-334 

JS Dante [S Q 73 

3S-39 Dante Vi [Ac] 83-83 

too-103 Pbrbmas [Ac] 50 

113-148 Pbremas Vblo. SonoQui. Dantb [Ac] 406-407 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



48o THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

REFBRENCB CKYPTOCRAH PAGB 

Par. ix. 

136-14: Ahato [AcJ 161-363 

136-142 SoNO Qui L'Amato Dt Bella. Dante [Ac] .... 262-263 

Par. X. 

i-S Dante Poet [IS] 88 

i-to L'Eguale Qui [Ac] 408 

i-2t Perbhas Qui Velo. Ecco Che Dante S'b Fatto 

Qui Nel Pobma L'Eguale Con Dio [Ac] .... 407 

IO-I2 Dahte [Ac] 87-88 

23-24 SoRDi [Ac] 408 

38 Dante (S q 71 

43-46 Pehemas [Ac] 50 

S2-S4 Rise [Ac] -51 

79 Dante [S C] 73 

99 DantQui [Ac] 449 

99 IoDantb [LS] 449 

120 Dante [S C] 72 

146-148 Seme [Ac] 292 

Par. xi. 

1-27 Ecco Qui PoETA [AcJ 415 

62 Pace (Ac] 444 

62 Mater [T] 444 

Par. xii. 

93 Pbrbmas Vi Dahte (T) 441 

96 Dante [S C] 71 

Par. xiii. 

64-73 Sole [Ac] 286 

73-81 Pbremas (Sperma) (Spem) IAc] 286-287 

100 PEREMAS DiO [Ac] . 441 

Par. xiv. 

38 Dante [SO] 73 

70-81 PoEMA [Ac] 44-45 

133-139 Pbrbmas [Ac] 284 

Par. XV. 

19-24 Dante [Ac] 68-69 

22-24 Dant [T] 68-69 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



LIST OF CRYPTOGRAMS 481 

reference cryptogram page 

28-30 Peremas Vi. Sono Qui In Rebus Tuo Caccia- 

GUiDA [Ac] 437 

34-45 Niche [Ac] 437-438 

46-57 515, E II Sei ICand P] 211 

94-111 NoMi, FioRENZA, D. ..E. No, No, No [Ac] .... 92-93 

99-102 Dante [I SI 93 

99-102 Dante [I SJ 93 

105-108 Dahte [IS] 104 

108-111 Ella NoN Noma Dante [Ac] 92-93 

113-114 Di Bella [Ac] 326-317 

113-138 Bella E Maria Amorosa [Ac] 326-327 

Par. xvi. 

34 Eva (An) 429 

Par. xvii. 

19-21 Sbmb [Ac] 195 

Par. xviii. 

i-ia Genio [Ac] 354 

2-5 Dante [IS] 354 

37-39 Dante [Ac] 80-81 

37-48 Copio. Ed [Ac] 80-81 

70-81 CoMFRESi "lo ViDi" [Ac] 155-156 

71-75 Dante [IS] 158 

76.78 Dante [IS] 158 

78-81 Dant [IS] 158 

78 DiL, 51S (C] ISS-IS9 

82-93 Dimostro [Ac] 156-157 

86-89 Dante [IS] 159 

93 Mater [An] 207 

Pot. art*. 

I1-12 EdIo [C] 205 

40-51 Pene [Ac] 291 

115-140 Vel [Ac] 159-164 

124-118 lo Dante [IS] 163-164 

125-129 Dante [IS] 163-164 

128-129 Mi {Sep. L] 163-164 

130-133 VediD...e [Ac] 159-162 

132 Dantb [S C] 71, 162 

132-136 Dante [IS] 162 

135 L'Omo [L SJ 162-163 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



482 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

KBFBRBNCB OLTFTOCSAH FAOB 

Par. XX. 

38 D.A: Vm [An] 204-405 

3S-68 RlGUAUATt C08I DaNTB [Ac] 202-205 

4072 Cbla Ed [Ac] 203-203 

4ft-S2 Dantb {I si 203-204 

52-55 Daktb [IS] 303-304 

53-56 Damtb [IS] 303-204 

94 Celob [Ac] 430 

94 CoE [Ac] 430 

Par. xxii. 

28-36 PoBMA [Ac] 46-47 

145-154 Qm PtBo [Ac] 300-joi 

Par. xxiii. 

1-3 CopoLA [Ac] 293-293 

13-34 Pbrbhas (Spbm) (Spbrha) [Ac] 379-280 

55-66 Pbrbhas (Spem) (Ac] 385 

58-60 PENE [Ac] 28s 

61-63 Ecco [Ac] 285-386 

64-66 NoMB [Ac] 385-286 

84-88 Bella [IS] 328 

85-90 O Bella Set Tu (Ac] 413-414 

91 Dantb [L S] 75 

109-120 Si Copola [Ac] 293 

113-116 Dantb {Ac] 294 

138 Celok (Ac] 429-430 

138 Cor [Ac] 429-430 

Par. xxo. 

28-30 Ride [Ac] 50 

30 Dante [S C] 73 

70 Dantb [S C] 74 

94-99 Pbrbhas Velo. Dante Pare Qui [Ac] 436 

98 Pbr Sb, Dante [Ac] 436 

130-139 Prbssa Sia [Ac] 233 

Par. xxri. 

1-3 Medus [Ac] 233 

13-32 LoQui Ed [Ac] 154 

17 Aldighiero 444 

43-57 Peremas [Non] [Ac) 417 

94-105 r, Dantb [Ac] 58 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



LIST OF CRYPTOGRAMS 483 

RBFBRBNCB CXYPTOGRAU PAOB 

103-104 r, Dantb [Ac] $8 

133-143 CouB Pbnb [Ac] 294 

134^136 Elios [Ac] 294 

141-142 Coda (Ac] 394 

Par. xxoii. 

i-ii Coda [Ac] 395 

10 Dantb [S Q 71 

43-4S Noma (Ac] 67-68 

43-^ Pbrbhas Dantb [Ac] 67-68 

Par. xxviii. 

70 Dante [S CJ 73 

75 Damte [S q 73 

Par. xxix. 

1-9 NoUA BbUA (Ac] 453 

12 Bioo [T] 430 

61-75 PoEMA [Ac] 48-49 

100-145 Pbrbuas Qm Vblo. Dantb Si Noma Nel Poeha [Ac] 420 

Par. XXX. 

91-99 CoPio [Ac] 138-139 

95-99 loViDi 139 

Par. xxxi. 

83 Dantb [S. C] 72 

Par. xxxii. 

1-6 Ecco Qw Bella (Ac) 452-453 

1-12 Snbixa [Ac] 452 

1-18 Bbatuce Vt Saxa Madre [Ac] 453 

136-144 E Mb [Ac] 67 

142-144 Sb' Qui, Dantb [Ac] 67 

Par. xxxiii. 

I A.D. 348 

1-9 Ventre [Ac] 348 

1-15 QuiTi Sbi, Dante [Ac] 348 

13-16 Bella [IS] 328 

16-30 Euos [Ac] 349 

38-39 Via Per "Ed lo" lAc] 147 

3I-4S Pbrtioilia [Ac] , 149-150 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



484 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 

kbfersnce cryftocrau page 

4^57 Ceda Bernardo [Ac] 135-136 

46-48 SIS [CI 136 

49-Si loViDi (IS] 136-137 

S2-S4 SIS IC] 136 

SS-S7 SIS [C] 136 

91-93 SIS IC] 13s 

ioo-t4S PoEMA Noma Qui Dante Qua L'Oho {Ac] 404-4°^ 

Ii3-tz6 Dante [IS] 107-108 

124-127 Dantk [IS] 107-108 

114-136 SoiE [Ac] 189 

125 Dante (L S) 106-108 

127-130 QUELLA CiRCULAZION PaREVA DaGLI OcC&I MiEI 

Dentro Da Se {Ac] 109 

139-130 Ecco Mi, Dis, Dante Aldicbieko [An] 109-110 

133-145 Pekemas Qui Vel. Dante Si Cela Nel Pobma [Ac] 406 

136-145 L'Amata [Ac] 30, 36-37 

139 Pene [PI 266 

139-142 Dante [IS] iii 

141-145 Salma [Ac] 30-31,36-37 

143 El Vel [An] 444 

ACROSTICS ON CONSECUTIVE FIRST LINES OF CANTOS 

Inf. i-iv. Prunello [Ac] 453-4S4 

Inf.i-xiii. CopioQuiLo Prunello. Dante [Ac] . . 454 

Inf. xxxii-xxxio. Si Vela [Ac] 455 

Puft- xxxii-xxxiii. Dante [Ac] 455 

Par. i-iv. Lavoro Qui Dante [Ac] 455 

Par. i-iv. LoQUi [Ac] 455 

Par. xxvi-xxviii. Poema [Ac] 456 

Par. xxiv-xxix Qui Dante Fosa Mano Al Poema [Ac] . . 456 

Par. xxx-xxxiii. Fin. Ave [Ac] 4S7 

VITA NUOVA 

V. N. xxiv. B-Ahore-Ice [An] 346-347 

V. N. xxiv. Velame [Ac] 420 

V.ti.xxv. Bella [P] 3S^36i 

V. N. XXX. Beatrice as 9 [C] 34t-344 

V. N. XXXV. FUHBRALE [Ac] 4ZO-42I 

V. N. XXXV. Pbrbmas Vi Vel. Poema Cela Qui 

Dantk [Ac] 421 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



INDEX 



DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc 



DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc 



INDEX 



A, cryptographic uK of, u AUppe, 

303; M alja, 444. 
Abecedarian psalms, 7. 
Abraham, K., ix. 
Acrostic, defined, 398-9; an^^ram- 

matic, defined, 396-431; forma of, 

illustrated, 33-53. 
Adam, 36, 59, 181, 304, 384, 386. 387. 
Adonis, 375. 
Adultery, 363, 303. 
jEneaa, descent to hell of, 361, 374. 

458. 
Ae»M, 9Uoted, 359, 360J mother 

tymboham tn, 360-1, 413. 
Ald^hiera d^ Aldighieri, wife of 

Cacd^liida, 119. 
Aldighieri, form of D.'a cognomen, 

"9- 
Aldighiero, form at D.'s cognomen, 

109-10, 119. 
Al^hiero, D.'s father, 119. 
Allegory, D:C. aa, 3,458, 459; defini- 
tion of, 4S1-3; raiton (f«re of, 11. 
Allighieri,formof D.'scognomen,ii9. 
Amos, anagram for Roha and Mabo, 

SI3; Christ aa, 193, 347; Holy 
host aa, 184, 336. 
AmoTosa Viiione, 8, 317-8. 
Anagram, as paeudonym, 9; claaaic 

example of. Ate Maria, etc. 438; 

defined, 397-9- 
Anonymity, literary, 10. 
Anonymous allusions in D. C. as, 

r^errii^ to D., 446. 
Antaeus, 309-10. 
Antictona, 343. 
Aphrodite, 375- 
Appearance and reality, II-I3; 130. 



Aquinaa, 448-9; his account of knowl- 
edge, 461. 

Ai^enti, Filippo, 189, 335, 438. 

A^gu^ 382-4. 

Aristotle, 446-7. 

Ark, mother symbolism of, 398, 389. 

Ainaut, Provoisal poet, 439. 

Arrow, symboliam of, 360. 

ArU, as hint of cryptt^fram, 18, 90. 

Ascent, D.'a of Purgatory, 343-354; 
of Ganymede, 458; to Paradtse of 
Beatrice, 354, 353-3, 371 ; ot Christ, 
167, 458; of Dante, 254-6?. 3S>-3. 
36i,37i;ofSt.Paul,458. 

Asceticism, 330-1. 

Ape, palindrome for Eva, 439. 



Babel, Tower of, 344-7, "97- 

Bacon, Frauds, vii. 

Baldwin's Die., PhU. » Psyeh., 336, 
254. 

Baptism, 34S, 364, 366, 388-9. 

Baptiatry of Florence, mother sym- 
bolism of, 388-9. 

Bardelo, 375- 

Bathiiu;, symboliam of, 35A 384, 
364. 366- 

Beast, number of, in Ret., 7, 9, i >^7- 

Beatrice, 313-9'; »• Holy Ghoat, 
351: as mother, 341-4. 352-3; *■ a 
nme, 341-4; aa Vugm Maiy, 341-4: 
descent of, 373-6; identified with 
Bella, viii, 336-63; in Mystic Pro- 
cession, 376-87; in V. N., 324, 338, 
341-3, 346, 351-a 3.69-73; not 
Beatrice Portinan, vui, 313. 314, 
315-31; various theories as to iden- 
tity of, 313-15- 

Beatrice Portinan, 313-31 - 



[487] 



THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



Beatrice, sister of Roberto, 183. 

Begley, W., vU, 344- 

Bella, D.'a mother, 3aa-^a8; iden- 
tified with Beatrice, viii, 336-63; 
identified with Virgin Mary, 323-4; 
overt reference to, 333-4; punning 
references to, 355, 356-63. 

Benvenuto da Imola, 174-5. 

Bernard. St., 136, 147, 334-5. 

Bible, cryptography in, 7, 9, 116-7. 

Bice, i7,3'5-8, 346-7- 

Birth, See Death and Rebirth. 

Boccaccio, vii, 185, 371; Amorosa 
Vinoae, 8, 316-8; Life of D., vii, 
3i5-3a3- 

Booth, W. S., vii. 

Buca d'un satio, 340-1. 

BiiT^la, nalMTol, 340-1. 



Cabala, 7, 1 16-9. 

Cacciaguida, 68, 93, 119, 195, 326-7, 
353. 438- 

Cammina atcoso, 340-1. 

Candlesticks, symbolism of, 383. 

Can Grande, 171; D.'s letter to, 36, 
314, 459; erroneously identified as 
DXV, 118, 

Car, symbolism of, 18, 378. 

Casini, T, vii, 46. 

CosteUo, nolfUe, 338-30. 

Cavalcanti, Guido, 368-9, 414-5. 

Cerberus, 317. 

Chivalric Love, 319, 335-6. 

Christ, as AUppt, 303; as Amok, 193, 
347; as lour, 344; as incestous son, 
36, 266, 373-3; as intellect, 133, 
184, 46^; as ten, 169, 196; D. iden- 



3-5. ; 

339. 344. 350. 373; eternally 
gotten, 366; m Greelf 



95. 399: "ot mentioned in Inf., 
78-9; rebirth of, 3a (see also Christ 
as mcestuous son); symbolized by 
fish, 306; symbolized by griffon, 
387-9; symbolized by sun, 34, 215, 
372-3, 349-50; symbolized by sym- 



Cltronides, cited, 389. 

Church, mother symbolism of, 179, 
i8a, 36a, 376-7. 

Cicero, 6. 

Ciotto di Jenualemme, 163-4. 

Cloud, mother symbol, 384-5. 

Colonna, Francesco, 8, g, 399, 453. 

Continuous acrostics through entire 
cantos, 433-7. 

Convkio, 55, 339, 342, 353, 365, 368, 
309,314.336,390-1. 

CorA, symbolism of, 3i9-ao. 

Corpse, symbolism of, 37-8, 338, 367. 

Covert, J., ix. 

Cranes, letter-making, 16. 

Creed, Apostles', 330, 343. 

Crislo, as identical rhyme, 139. 

Cross, as T, 78. 81, 83, 87, loi, 177. 
178. 347. 365. 439; as X. 81, 96, 36s; 
cryptograms m form of, 41, 107, 
163-4. 338; symbol of Christ, 78, 
80, 101, 351, 347, 439. 

Crucifixion, symbolism of, 273-3. 

Crux ansata, 2^1. 

Crj^ograms, defined, 3-4; indica- 
tions of intention of, 4-5, 13-4, 
33-4. 91-3, 103, 401-3; motives for 
use of, 9-13. 403-4; n^mbolic use of, 
8, II-3, loi-ii. See Acrosdcs, 
Anagrams, Cabala, Interior Se- 

auences. Letter Sequences, Palin- 
romes, String Ciphers, Telestics. 
See also List of Cryptograms. 
Cupid, 360, 363, 364. 



Da, symbol of D., 153. 

Daniel, cited, 76. 

Dante, as lost and found, 33, loi-ii; 
identified with Christ, 31, 41, 93, 
108, 133, 139. '57. 170-1. 174-5. 
184,311-3,236,303-5,334,339.344. 
350. 373. 408, 43a; identified with 
ctotio di Jerusaiemme, 163-4; with 
DXV, iiS-36; with eagle, 201: 
with Fante, 76-7; with foetus, 
236-41; with God, 96, 106-11, 133, 
146, 161, 260: with intellect, 123, 



42, 103, 105, 206; with Mentb, 123, 



)dOyGoO(^lc 



183-4. 422-j; with Nati, y, 103; 
with Phoenix, 167-71; with Romeo, 
300-1; with Sprrha, 3a6-7, 32g-y>, 
337-9. 353-3; with eun,_ 388; with 
universe, 70, loa; with Veltro, 
3, 171-83; love for his mother, 
333-^, 338; Buggested in anonymous 
allusions, 204, 446; Bymbolir— ~' 



. ^ ), aS4. 380-7; united crypto- 
eraphically with Taide, 59-60, See 
Ad, Di, oil, Ed, Ed lo, lo ViDi, 
Vel. 

David, 304-5, 44^- 

Death, ambivalent for birth, 343, 373. 
See Morte teconda and Rebirth. 

Descent to underworld, in mythol- 
ogy, 331, 374, 458; of Beatrice, 
373-6; of Chnst, 167, aij, 303-4, 
458; of D., 337-243, 303-4; of Luci- 
fer, 215, 373; of mother, 374-5; of 
sun, 34, 215. 

Di, symbol of D., 152. 

Dn,, symbol of D., 15, 155-9. 

Dinamore, C. H., viii. 

Dis, city of, 239, 231. 

Dwina Commedia, allusion to, in 
V. N., 387; as all^ory, 3, 458, 

459, 461-2; as dream, 458, 459, 

460, 461-3; as history, 457-8, 459; 
as myth, 309-10, 459-60, 462-4; 
divisioas of, 10, 39-43. 

Donnelly, I., 5. 

Dragon, 317,377. 

Dream, 0, 189, 353, 458, 459, 460, 

461-2; in Purgatory, 250, 363, 364; 

in V. N., 369-73; of dijd vu, 274. 
Dream-lite representation, 186-325. 
Durante, 66, 323. 
DVX. SeeDXV. 
DXV, identified with Dante, viii, 3, 

115-36; identified with others, 116- 

6; symbt^m of, 136, 179. 379- 



E^le, dream of, 350; guise of D. and 
of Trinity, 30i-ii; symbolism of, 
379-80. 

Earth, as mother, 337-8, 367-75, 3^^' 

Easter, 34, 373. 



EX 489 

Eating, symbolism of, 185, 309-10, 

217. 307. 371-2, 384. 
Ed, symbol of D., 153. 
Ed lo, symbol of D., 145-153. 
Eden. See Garden of. 
Eiios, 338-9, 295, 349. 
Emotion, corresponding to love and 

Holy Ghost, ix, 184, 336, 463. See 

Trinity. 
Empyrean, the spaceless, 263-5, 3°6' 
Enigma forte, 12. SeeDXV. 
Eunoe, 35, I95i "99, 248, 264. 
Eve, 14, 36, 179, 181, 304, 306, 384, 

386, 387, 429, 453. 



Faith, 336. 

Falcon, 208-10. 

Family, as symbol of the individual 

mind, 184, 225-6, 463; as symbol of 

Trinity, ix, 184, 193, 307-8, 255, 

266, 330-2, 346. 
Father, 170, 189, 368, 368-9, 386-7. 

See Alighiero, Argenti, Caccia- 

Eiida, Cavalcanti, God, Lion, 
ucifer, Pape Satan, Trinity, Vir- 

Bil- 
Faye, E. de, ix. 
Fdtro, 180-3. 
Piametta, 331. 

Fire, symbolism of, 85, 353, 333. 
First lines of consecutive cantos, 
• acrostica on, 453-7. 
Fish, symbolism of, 6, 95, 336, 360, 

306, 399. 
Fleming, W. K., ix. 
Fletcher. J. B., vii, viii. 
FUur-de-iys, symbolism of, 327, 3S3. 
Florence, mother syndMliam of, 325-8. 
Face, 256. 
Fo%lie, 356. 

Font, mother symbolism of, 388-9. 
Form, universal, 139-164. 
FoTO d'tm sasso, 340-1. 
Four, Christ as, 344; division into, 

3^42; groups of 316-7; in terza 

nma, 40; tn trinity, 40; man as, 344. 
Francesca, 298. 
Frazer, J. G., ix, 219, 379-80- 



idovGoot^lc 



490 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



Freud, S., iz, 374. 
Freudian psychology, ^ 



Gabriel, 336. 

Ganymede, 458. 

Garden of Eden, 36, 181, 210, 348, 
353. 306-310. 

GardDer, E. G., vii, 17s, n. 

Gate, city of Dis, 339; of Hdl, 194, 
324 228, 229-30, 271, 375, 374, 433; 
of Pursatoiy ptoptt, 348; symbol- 
ism of, 335, 398. 

Gtnetis, eked, no, 355, 386-7. 

Gec^raphy, D.'s tyinbolical, 367-73. 

Geryon, 217-*- 

Giant, symboUsm of, ti6, 377, 379- 

"Gibberidi," 17, 344-7, 303-6. 

Giovanoa, 367-8. 

Giuncki, 347. 

Gnosticisni, 198, >66, 331-5, 375-6, 

God, as alpha and omega, 7, 444; 
as father, 330; as li^t, io6-ii; 
as mother, 38, 330 (see Holy 
Ghost); D. identified with, 106-11; 
return to, 38, 106-11, 390; sun 
n'mboUam of, 295, 349. See 
Trinity. 

Gods, mother of the, 33S. 

Golden Age, aymbolism of, 307, 309. 

Grave, symbolism of, 37-8, 338, 367. 

Gravity, symbolism of center of, 
340. 

Grembo, 350. 

GrifFon, symbolism of, 18, 378-81. 

Guises, cryptocraphic, see Ad, Di, 
Dn., Ed, Ed Io, Io Vidi, Vel ; sym- 
bolic, see CioUo, Dxv, Eagle, 
Lotua, Lucifer, Lupa, fhoeniz, 
Romeo, Statius, Veltro, Virgil. 



Hdl, ^mbolitm of, 188, 227-43. 375, 
388, 398, 361. See OeKxat to 
-^ — orid. 



H 



Harlot, syroboliam of, 58, 60, 116, 

179. 262, 377-B, 379, 387. 
Harpies, 333-4. 
Harrison, J. E., ix. 
Hastings, J., vii, 'a., 7, 344, n., 328, 

n., 375. n., 386. 
Hebrews, Gospel of the, 463. 



Henry, Emperor, 117. 

Herbert, George, 8, 93, n. 

Hercules, 310, 374, 458; Pillars of, 
eymbolivn of, 367, 370, 371, 398-9. 

Hesiod, 397. 

Him, Y., ii, 244, n., 358, n., 385, o. 

HistMy, D. C. as, 457-8, 459; sym- 
bolised in Mystic Procession, 376-7. 

Holbrook, R. T., viii, 16, 303. 

Holy Gboat, 184, 193. 198, 300. 330, 
5,346.463- SeeTrimty. 

Homer, 339. 

Hope, 335-6. 

Hotsm, 361-3. 

ByfitunbMiaekia Polipkili. See Col- 

I 



254. 
Hmd, 361. 
InceW. 33, 34, 38, 170-1, I79*>. 

199, 309-10, 316, 338, 347, 350, 

366, 368, 373-3, 374, 398, 304, 308- 

10, 352. 359-60, 364, 371-3. 374. 

380, 386, 389, 463. 
Individual, the human, aa trinity, 

ix-x, 184, 463. 
In^pu. 35, 48, 50, 140, 157, 281, 

354- 
Intellect, Christ and Oante as, ix, 123, 

184, 226, 433, 463. See Trinity. 
Intention, indtcatkias of, in crypto- 

Eranu, 4-5, 13-4, 33-4, 91-3, I03, 

401-3. 
Interior of earth, northern, see Hell; 

southern, 339-43. 
Interior sequences, 4, 87-95. Sc« 

List of Cryptograms. 
Intrauterine existence, 38, 338, 365, 

307-9. 347-53. 
Io VtDi, vymbol of D., 129-145. See 

List of Cryptograma. 
Isaiak, cited, 215. 
I«iN 375- 
Istar, 374-5. 



!dOyGoO<^lc 



Jerusalem, Bymboliam of, 367-73. 

/ofa>, gospel of, dted, 31-3, 33. 

Josephiw, 309. 

Jooniey of D., symbcdiini of, 31, 34, 
37, lor-ii, 35a, 373, 293. 309! of 
Ulysses, ■yiubolism of, 39B-9. See 
Parallel. 

Jung, C. G., ix. 

Juno, 359, 360, 383. 

Jupiter, 336, 344, 383. 

K 

Key, ^mboliim of, 351, 365, 398, 

306. 
King, C. W., vu, 333-4. 
KlQber, J. L., vii. 



Laps, D.'s stepmother, 333. 

Lark, symbolism of, 3o8-io. 

Latham, C. 5., 37, 171, n. 

Laura, of Petiarca, 331. 

Lethe, 35, 348, 364. 

LMter sequences, 74-5. See List of 
Cryptograms.. 

LeUere Mcne, 19-30, 163. 

Lia, 363-4, 368. 

L^ht, river of, 364; symbolinn of, 
36, 106-10, 358-60, 390-1, 397, 33a. 
333. See Sun symbolism. 

LiW, symbolism of, ao7, 336. See 
Fleur-de-lys. 

Lion, symbolism of, 185, 1S8, 193, 
216, 334. 

Lithopaedion, 331. 

Logos, 308, 353. 

LoagteOaw, H. W-, vii, 19. 

LoHMO, symbolism of, 183-4, 3i6. 

Lost and found, Dante as, 33, loi-i i . 

Love, as Christ, 193, 347, 351; as 
emotiw), 326: as Holy Ghost, 335- 
6, 35 1 ; Beatrice as, 347-51; chiv- 
alric, 319, 335-6; D.'s, for his 
mother, 333-5; of bodies for their 
birthplace, 309; war of, 36a. See 
Trinity. 



h3S9,36i- 



Lucifer, 313-7; as father, 303-4; as 
tnadic,3i5-6; identified with Christ, 
314-5; ^th Dante, 313-6; with 
God, 314-s; with Sun, 314-5; ain of, 
3i6, 303; sex symbolism of, 336-43, 
373. 303-4- 

Luke, gospel of, dted, 333-4. 

Lupa, symbolism <A, 179, 185-6, 
316. 

M 

M, cryptographic use of, 16, 157-8, 
305-9. 

Macrocosm-microcoem, 341, 354-5. 

Macy, J., ix. 

Mar, pun for Maro, 193. 

Mar ddi" esiere, 356. 

Maria, city of, 343, 368, 370; of Boc- 
cacdo, 317, 331; of, Jerusalem, 
309-10. Sm Virgin Mary. 

Mariolatry, 334. 

Matekta, 195, 30o, 384, 364-7. 

Ifatikew, gospel of, dted, 384. 

Me, as identical iliyme, 139. 

Meanings, all^orical, 3, 13, 18, 
314-5. 357-8, 363. 385- 459. 460, 
461-3; dream, 459, 463; myth, 
309-10. 459-60, 463-4. 

Mediterranean, geografrftical sym- 
bolism of, 363, 3G7-73. 

Medusa, 331-3, 360. 

Mdeager, 85-7. 

Mercury, 336, 383. 

Messo da Dio, 115, 335, 440. 

Mirror, symbolism of, 316-7, 330, 
353- 

MonU, diUttOSo, 189, 338. 

Moon, symbolism of, 331, 39S. 

Moore, E., vii, 17, 34, 46, 1 16-18, 
313-5. 321. 33a, 342. 

Morle leeonda, 333-3. 

Mother, andent, 359, 363; cult of, 
338-36; dual, 33-3, 37-9, 2di-a, 
360-1 ; fallen, 179-83, 376; symbols, 
variety of, 387-9". See Ark, Bea- 
trice, Bella, Car, Cerberus, Church, 
Clouds, Earth, Eve, Feltro, Flor- 
ence, Font, Garden of Eden, 



DiBtizedOyGoOt^lc 



«2 THE CRYPTOGRAPHY OF DANTE 



Gervofi, Giovanna, Gods, mother 
of. Hell, Holy Ghost, Jerusalem, 
Lia, LucU, Cupa, Maria, Matelda, 
Medusa, Moon, Mountain, Mys- 
tic rose. Purgatory, Putlana, Ra- 
chel, Sea, Seiva Oicura, Sky, 
Statius, Terrestrial Paradise, Tower 
Tree, Virgin Mary. 

Mountain, of Pm^toty, 270; «yio- 
botiam, 106, 343-4> 33o> 385- See 
Monte diiitUiso. 

Myer, L, ix. 

Mystic procession, 377-87. 

Mystic roee, symbolism of, 264-6, 338. 



dead, see Ascent and Descent; 
Sun, see Sun symbolism. See also 
Antaeus, Meleager, etc. 



Names, cryptograms of groups of pro- 
per, 99-101. 126, 174. 364-S. 444-53; 
numerical value of, 334, 343-4. See 
DXV. 

Nicodemus, 31,33. 

Nimrod, 244-7. 

Nine, Beatrice as, 17, 341-5; symbol- 
ism of, 169, 26a, 272, 293, 327. 

Non-Italian phrases, crypt<^Tams in, 

?S-99, 284, 427-44. See List of 
Cryptograms. 
Norton, C. E., vii, 19, 267, 333, 357, 

n., 358, n. 
Number symbolism. See Four, Nine, 
Seven, Ten, Thirty-five, Tliree. 



O, cryptographic use of, i 
Odor symbolism, 330. 
Odysseus, see Ulysses. 
Odytsey, 361. 
Omo, 10, 16, 205-6, 209. 
Ovid, 363, 382. 



P, cryptographic use of, 17, 351-3. 

Palindrome, 192, 429. 

Paolo, 298. 

Pape SaUm, etc., 17, 303-6. 



Parallel, between female body and 
Earth, 337-8, 367-75; Hert, 38, 
227-43; Paradise, 254-67; Purga- 
tory, 243-54; psycho-physical, 463. 

Pamasso, 356. 

Paul, St., 374. 458. 

Pauly, Eneydopaedit, vii, 6. 

Personification, D.'s discussion of, 
357-63- 

Perlueio Untdo, 240- 1. 

Petckiera, 357, 36o-I. 

Petrarca, 319-21. 

Phallic symbolism, 36, 65, 85, 307, 
226, 327, 229-30. »35. 336, 237, 
239, 240, 244. 248-50, 251-2, 258- 
60, 264, 265, 366, 272, 2S9, 291, 
292, 295, 297, 398, 379, 381. 383, 
386. 

Phoenix, symbolism of, 167-71, 196, 
380. 

Plato, 446-7. 

Platonic love, see Chivalric love. 

Plautus, 6. 

Poast, F. M., ix. 

Poe, E, A„ 9a, n. 

Portinari, Beatrice, viii, 313, 3t4, 
315-21. 

Potence, 51, 60, 1^6. 

Procession, mystic, 377-87. 

Prometheus, 170. 

Proserpine, 231, 364. 

Prooerbs, cited, 11. 

Prunicos, 333. 

Psycho-physical parallelism, see Par- 
allel. 

Pun, 146, 161, 192, 306, 313, 266, 
351.355. 356-63,368. 

Purgatory, symbolism of, 240, 343- 
54, 270, 371, 373, 379, 398-9, 306. 

Pnttana, 58, 60, 179, 387. See Har- 
lot. 

Pythagorean concepts, Antictona, 
342; sacred tetrad, 344; transmigra- 
tion, 343, 332. 



Quest, D.'s journey ai 



idovGoot^lc 



DiBlBsdByGoOl^lc